It’s hard to believe that it’s already March. Time has been flying by and spring is just around the corner! While the warm weather will be a fresh change of pace, with this time of year often comes extra activities like spring cleaning, spring break trips, the end of the school year and the ever-so enjoyable tax season.
In a time of the year that is often chaotic, it’s easy to put self-care on the backburner. It’s also easy to completely disregard any New Year’s resolutions that may have been made to eat healthier or more balanced meals. However, instead of taking steps backwards as spring approaches, it can be easy and fun to learn and create healthy habits in March by celebrating National Nutrition Month.
National Nutrition Month is a nutrition and education campaign created annually in March by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.
The campaign focuses on the importance of making smart and educated food decisions and developing sustainable eating and physical activity habits. During National Nutrition Month, the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics also promotes its members to the public and media as the most valuable and credible source of timely, scientific-based food and nutrition information.
Initiated in March 1973 as a week-long event, “National Nutrition Week” became a month-long observance in 1980 in response to growing public health interest in nutrition. During the eighties, the number of members involved, activities planned, and range of consumers reached grew dramatically. With the 1990s came a greater focus on consumer trends and messaging. Today, most of the promotion for National Nutrition Month is done through internet campaigns, particularly on social media.
This year, the theme of National Nutrition Month is “Go Further with Food.” The foods that we use to fuel our bodies are extremely important. Habits such as starting the day with a healthy breakfast, fueling with healthy foods before a workout, or preparing and packing healthy snacks for the day can help to create healthy patterns that can propel our lives forward.
Why is National Nutrition Month so important in Oklahoma? Or even in Payne county? In Payne County, 22.7 percent of people live below the poverty line. 57.6 percent of people have low or poor access to healthy foods. In Oklahoma, poor diet, sedentary lifestyle and tobacco use influence four chronic diseases (cardiovascular disease, cancer, diabetes and lung disease) that account for more than 60 percent of all deaths in Payne County and in Oklahoma.
During March, make small changes to create more sustainable, healthy habits. Some examples would include eating more fruits and vegetables, eating less sugar and salt, and drinking more water. Visit https://www.eatright.org/food/resources/national-nutrition-month for more information.