Tameca R. Wilson, MBA Title X Outreach Coordinator Division of Women’s Health
In an average day you work at least eight hours in the office, help with homework, get the kids to practice, cook dinner, and check on your parents. This is all before you think about the things on your to do list. People wonder how you hide your cape under your clothing or where you park your invisible jet. However, even your super powers need to be checked and recharged regularly.
Too often women put their health last. National Women’s Health Week, May 13-19, “serves as a reminder for women to make their health a priority and build positive health habits for life.” This observance was birthed out of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office on Women’s Health. The campaign, which kicks off on Mother’s Day this year, encourages women to:
Visit a doctor or nurse for a well-woman visit (checkup) and preventive screenings.
Pay attention to their mental health, including getting enough sleep and managing stress.
Avoid unhealthy behaviors, such as smoking, texting while driving, and not wearing a seat belt or bicycle helmet.
Get started today. Take the “What’s your health score?” quiz. Whether you are in your 20s or 90s, it is important for you (and to ones who love you) that you take the time to care for yourself. Simple steps today will be a foundation for a lifetime.
The S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control recently published a press release reminding parents to practice safe sleep habits with infants. The agency reported that six infants in South Carolina die each month due to sleep-related deaths.
The clean air and water, mountain views and scenic rivers that attract so many people to the Upstate is the driving force behind a watershed plan being developed for the 220,000-acre Tyger River Watershed Basin.
Keeping it beautiful and clean for future generations is the goal of Upstate Forever, a Greenville-based land conservation organization that is parlaying a $40,000 federal grant into a plan to identify sources of water pollution as well as areas deemed “critical” for protection or restoration.
By Sylvia Blyth, RD, LD, CLC Nutrition Education Coordinator Division of WIC Services
March is National Nutrition Month, a time to focus attention on the importance of making informed food choices and developing sound eating and physical activity habits.
Choose the right foods
“Go Further with Food” is the theme for 2018, and its importance is timely for many reasons. Whether it’s starting the day off right with a healthy breakfast or fueling up before an athletic event, the foods you choose can make a real difference. Preparing your foods to go further, by planning meals and snacks in advance, can also help to reduce food loss and waste.
This year’s theme for National Nutrition Month encourages us to achieve the numerous benefits healthy eating habits offer, but it also urges us to find ways to cut back on food waste. Learning how to manage food resources at home will help you “Go Further with Food,” while saving both nutrients and money.
What Can You Do?
Include a variety of healthful foods from all of the food groups on a regular basis.
Consider the foods you have on hand before buying more at the store.
Buy only the amount that can be eaten or frozen within a few days and plan ways to use leftovers later in the week.
Be mindful of portion sizes. Eat and drink the amount that’s right for you, as MyPlate encourages us to do.
Continue to use good food safety practices.
Find activities that you enjoy and be physically active most days of the week.
Realize the benefits of healthy eating by consulting with a registered dietitian nutritionist. RDNs can provide sound, easy-to-follow personalized nutrition advice to meet your lifestyle, preferences and health-related needs.
“If you want to make the move toward eating healthier, choose one or two things to change,” said Phyllis Allen, MS, RD, state director of Public Health Nutrition. “Don’t instantly try to change everything you eat. When you make too many changes it will make it harder to stick with new habits.”
With this year’s theme, “Put Your Best Fork Forward,” DHEC is continuing its efforts in our communities teaching various age groups the importance of eating a well-balanced meal and living a more active lifestyle.
Healthy eating can help you achieve and maintain a healthy body weight, and reduce the risk for a number of chronic health conditions such as diabetes, heart disease and high blood pressure. DHEC is actively working to decrease the number of chronic diseases such as diabetes and heart disease with programs like Cooking Matters. The program teaches adults how to prepare and shop for healthy meals on a limited budget. Currently, the economic cost of obesity in South Carolina is an estimated $8.5 billion per year and growing.
“Parents are important role models for their children,” Allen said. “Set a good example by eating healthy and your children will eat healthy too.”
Tips to help develop better habits
Here are some tips to help you develop sound eating and physical activity habits. Remember, making small changes in your food choices can lead to better health.
Eat breakfast: Start your morning with a healthy breakfast that includes lean protein, whole grains, fruits, and vegetables.
Make half your plate fruits and vegetables: Fruits and veggies add color, flavor, and texture plus vitamins, minerals, and fiber to your plate. Make 2 cups of fruit and 2 ½ cups of vegetables your daily goal. Experiment with different types, including fresh, frozen and canned.
Watch portion sizes: Get out the measuring cups and see how close your portions are to the recommended serving size.
Be active: Start by doing what exercise you can for at least 10 minutes at a time. Children and teens should get 60 or more minutes of physical activity per day, and adults should get two hours and 30 minutes per week.
Fix healthy snacks: Healthy snacks can sustain your energy levels between meals, especially when they include a combination of foods.
Get to know food labels: Reading the Nutrition Facts panel can help you eat or drink smarter.
Get cooking: Preparing foods at home can be healthy, rewarding and cost-effective. Resolve to learn some cooking and kitchen basics.
Dine out without ditching your goals: Plan ahead, ask questions and choose foods carefully. Compare nutrition information, if available, and look for healthier options that are grilled, baked, broiled or steamed.
Drink more water: Quench your thirst by drinking water instead of sugary drinks.
Cut back on added sugars: Foods and drinks with added sugars equal empty calories and little or no nutrition. Reviewing ingredients on the food label helps identify sources of added sugar.
In 2017, be purposeful about changing habits, taking precautions and instituting preventive measures aimed at improving your health and quality of life. Making the right decisions could make 2017 your healthiest yet.
A few tips to consider
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that you:
Be smokefree. If you are ready to quit, call the S.C. Tobacco Quitline at 1-800-QUIT-NOW (1-800-784-8669), or for services in Spanish, call 1-855-DÉJELO-YA (1-855-335-3569). Read this blog post to learn more. For more information on the S.C. Tobacco Quitline, visit the DHEC website.
Protect yourself from injury or disease by wearing a helmet when biking, using sunscreen when outdoors and insect repellent to protect yourself from mosquito-borne illnesses.
Make an appointment for a check-up, vaccination or screening. Regular health exams and tests can help find problems early or even before they start.
Wash your hands often with soap and water to prevent the spread of infection and illness.
Make healthy food choices. A healthy eating plan emphasizes fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and fat-free or low-fat milk and milk products, includes lean meats, poultry, fish, beans, eggs and nuts, and is low in saturated fats, transfats, cholesterol, salt (sodium) and added sugars.
Be active to improve overall health. Exercise. Also, try simple things such as taking the stairs instead of the elevator.
Get enough sleep. Insufficient sleep is associated with a number of chronic diseases and conditions, including diabetes, cardiovascular disease, obesity and depression.