March is Nutrition Month in the United States, and Lawrence Memorial Hospital is sponsoring two events to help you make good food choices.
The first event, designed for children who are ages 3 and older, will feature acrobats and edible books. The Nutrition Carnival and Edible Books Festival will get underway at 11 a.m. March 10 at the Lawrence Public Library, which is a co-sponsor.
Three days later, LMH’s monthly Senior Supper and Seminar will feature nutrition trivia for older adults. This interactive event is set for March 13 at LMH.
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Eating a nutritious diet and getting regular physical activity are keys to staying healthy and reducing the chance of developing many diseases. According to 2016 statistics about Kansas from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, about 31 percent of our population is considered obese, and another 35.6 percent of us are overweight. Statistics from Douglas County are similar. Having excess body weight increases people’s risk for many diseases, including heart disease, stroke, Type 2 diabetes, osteoarthritis, sleep apnea and several cancers.
For the many people who are interested in making some changes in their nutrition or level of physical activity, the best advice is to start small and set goals you can meet. Success is important. Continue setting achievable goals, which will increase your chances of long-term success.
The folks at the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, who are responsible for saying March is nutrition month in our country, actually have expanded their reach in the food arena this year. In addition to touting the many benefits of healthy eating, the group is encouraging people to cut back on food waste.
Between 30 and 40 percent of food that is available for Americans to eat is not consumed, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Although wasting food at home, restaurants or stores accounts for much of it, food also can be lost because of mold, pets or inadequate climate control.
A 2016 study from Ohio University found that a majority of Americans think food waste is a problem but find it difficult to reduce their own food waste. For a variety of helpful tips, visit epa.gov and search for “reducing wasted food at home.”
Here are some tips from the academy on how to reduce food waste while ensuring your diet is nutritious:
• Regularly eat a variety of healthy foods from all food groups.
• Consider the foods you have on hand before buying more.
• Purchase only the amount that can be eaten or frozen within a few days, and plan to use any leftovers as soon as possible.
• Be aware of portion sizes. Is the amount right for your age, gender, activity level and your personal goals, such as losing weight? Practicing portion control is key to help people lose or maintain their weight. For more about portions, visit myplate.gov.
• Use food-safety practices to decrease the risk of foodborne illness and food waste. For more, visit foodsafety.gov.
• Be physically active most, if not all, days of the week. Find exercises or activities that you enjoy so you will continue them. Remember that almost everyone can exercise in some way — even people who have limited mobility or abilities.
• If you are trying to make food or other lifestyle changes, get support. Consult registered dietitians or certified nutritionists, wellness coaches or exercise professionals.
Nutrition events this month
• The Nutrition Carnival, co-sponsored by Lawrence Memorial Hospital and the Lawrence Public Library, is open from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday, March 10 at the library, 707 Vermont St. Stop by and learn more about healthy eating and being active. While you’re there, check out the Last Carnival’s aerobatic and acrobatic performances. The carnival is designed for children ages 3 and older. You also can visit the Edible Books Festival. The deadline to register an Edible Books entry is 5 p.m. March 9. Just call 785-843-3833. No registration is necessary for the carnival or to view Edible Books entries. Visit lplks.org for more information about the March 10 events.
• The LMH Senior Supper and Seminar on March 13 will feature an interactive seminar: Nutrition Trivia for Older Adults. Supper starts at 5 p.m. and the fee is $5.50. The seminar is at 6 p.m. and is free. Advance registration is required, and registration closes 24 hours before the event or when we’ve reached capacity. To enroll, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org or call 785-505-5800.
— Aynsley Anderson Sosinski is a wellness specialist at Lawrence Memorial Hospital, which is a major sponsor of Lawrence Journal-World’s Health section. She is board certified by the Mayo Clinic and the National Consortium of Health and Wellness Coaches as a wellness coach. She can be reached at email@example.com.