ATLANTA — During National Nutrition Month, the Georgia Department of Human Resources, Division of Public Health encourages citizens statewide to adopt healthier eating habits and incorporate exercise into their daily routine which may help reduce the risk for chronic disease such as diabetes and heart disease.
Poor diet and physical activity have also contributed to the rise in Georgia’s obesity rate. Two out of every five adults (42 percent) in Georgia are regularly physically active and one in four (23 percent) consumes the minimum recommendation of five or more servings of fruit and vegetables per day. Of the state’s youth, 71 percent of middle school students and 61 percent of high school students are vigorously active. Only 18 percent of Georgia’s high school students eat five or more servings of fruit and vegetables each day.
“This awareness month gives us another opportunity to remind people about the importance of eating right and exercising on a daily basis,” said Dr. Stuart Brown, director of the Division of Public Health. “We know that these two factors, healthy eating and physical activity, play a significant role in promoting good health and decreasing obesity among children and adults which leads to a better life.”
Exercising not only improves health outcomes among Georgia’s youth and adults but doing so also helps reduce the state’s obesity rate and the economic burden associated with inactivity. Obesity rates for Georgia’s youth and adults have continued to rise over the past several years due in part to poor diet and physical inactivity.
Approximately 1.8 million adults, 28,000 third graders, 59,000 middle school students and 50,000 high school kids were considered obese in 2005. Being physically active can help reduce obesity and can also help save an individual’s life. Physical inactivity resulted in approximately 3,265 deaths, 20,170 hospitalizations and $613 million in hospital charges in 2005.
During National Nutrition Month, the Division of Public Health reminds citizens to also participate in a healthy eating routine. Youth and adults are encouraged to eat the recommended five or more servings of fruit and vegetables each day to reduce weight gain and risk for illnesses such as heart disease and stroke. The percentages of high school students and adults who consume the minimum recommended servings of fruits and vegetables are consistently low across all sex, race, ethnic and age groups.
National Nutrition Month is an annual nutrition education and information campaign created by the American Dietetic Association. The campaign is designed to focus attention on the importance of making informed food choices and developing sound eating and physical activity habits.
For more information about the National Nutrition Month visit: http://www.eatright.org/cps/rde/xchg/ada/hs.xsl/NNM_2007_home.htm. Additional information about how to lead a healthier lifestyle can be found online at http://www.livehealthygeorgia.org/.