I know every one every where is talking about being healthier. Every conversation you hear is low-carb this and lowfat that! How many grams of fat does that have? There really is a good reason though. The nation has begun education with an eye toward healthier living. I feel that in a very real way the entire nursing profession has been a big help to this goal.
The reasons are many and varied but the goal is a healthier nation. Obesity rates today are the highest they have ever been. A study by the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) concluded in 2002 found that an estimated 65% of U.S. adults are overweight or obese. The CDC has a Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS) that they have used to gain helpful data across the nation. Trends over the last twenty years show dramatic increase of obesity in the U.S.
Obesity in our young is also increasing at an alarming rate. The NHANES also had a study that showed an estimated 16 percent of children and adolescents ages 6-19 years are overweight. "This represents a 45 percent increase from the overweight estimates of 11 percent obtained from NHANES III (1988-94)." If we as a nation ever want to have a healthier future we have to start now. We need to be aware of what our children eat and don’t eat. We need to promote healthier habits for long-term health and we need to start by teaching our children.
Due to the facts and figures that I have displayed the National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion is trying to heighten awareness. They are striving for a goal as well "national health objectives for the year 2010 is to reduce the prevalence of obesity among adults to less than 15%." They also report that at this time the trends are continuing in the wrong direction.
We do live in the information age and there is of course a website you can visit. On this website you will find links for many more sites and information. I can in no way scratch the surface but I will pass on a few important tips. Research has shown that good nutrition lowers risk of many chronic diseases such as, Heart Disease and Stroke and can be a factor in type 2 diabetes. Chronic diseases account for 7 of every 10 U.S. deaths and for more than 75% of medical care expenditures. The largest preventable symptoms are physical inactivity and unhealthy eating habits.
The idea is that we need to start now as a nation to help our future generation become healthier. We need to support healthy eating habits and lead by example. We need to become more active and get our children out of the house off of the couch and get their headphones off. We need to get them involved in physical activity even if we just walk with them around the neighborhood. These behaviors are the key. If we begin teaching our children now that they need to build good habits for life they will be healthier and have a happier life. We can start simple by just introducing more fruit and making healthier meals for the entire family. We can increase the nutritional education and instill good dietary habits. We can try to cut back on the fast foods and grease. We could all afford to save a few bucks by not eating out so much.
Nurses have been educating patients about diet and nutrition for several years. Although many nurses themselves struggle with weight problems. We often teach others the benefits of a healthy diet, nutrition and eating habits. We ourselves often make excuses about why we don’t follow this same advice. We say don’t have time. Is that just an excuse? It shouldn’t take any longer to eat healthy than it does to eat poorly. Exercise is very important as well. We need to become more active. I know after working as a nurse all day it is definitely hard to get motivated to do anything resembling exercise. If you ever start though most people find they have more energy and feel better. A complete lifestyle make over for the entire nation. As we move firmly into the millenium we should try to turn an eye to the future. Our future is the youth of today!