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The Florida Department of Health Celebrates National Nutrition Month

By DOH-Hardee Communications

March 22, 2017

March is National Nutrition Month(r) and The Florida Department of Health in Hardee County is bringing awareness to the importance of a nutritious, healthy lifestyle. National Nutrition Month(r) is a nutrition education campaign that was created by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics to be observed annually in March. The campaign focuses its attention on the importance of making informed food choices and developing healthy habits for eating and physical activity.

"This year's theme, Put Your Best Fork Forward, acts as a reminder that each bite a person takes counts, says Dr. Joy Jackson," director of the Florida Department of Health in Hardee County. "Making smart, healthy changes in food choices now can lead to positive health benefits over time."

The 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommends that people ages two years or older follow a healthy eating pattern that includes a variety of fruits and vegetables, whole grains, fat-free and low-fat dairy products, a variety of proteins, and oils.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, healthy eating can help individuals achieve and maintain a healthy body weight, consume important nutrients, and reduce the risk of developing health conditions such as:

* High blood pressure

* Heart disease

* Diabetes

* Cancer

* Osteoporosis

* Iron deficiency

* Dental caries (cavities)

Improving overall well-being also requires a lifelong commitment to healthy and balanced lifestyle behaviors, including daily physical activity and a balanced diet. Lifestyle changes are never easy, but by committing to make one small change at a time they can be achievable. The Florida Department of Health in Hardee County's recommendation for healthier, active living is to follow the 5210 guidelines:

* 5- Eat 5 or more fruits and vegetables every day

* 2- Reduce recreational screen time to 2 hours or less each day

* Get 1  hour or more of physical activity every day

* Consume 0 sugar-sweetened drinks

One small change a day can lead to many positive health benefits over time. The health department encourages residents to "Put Your Best Fork Forward," this March and find the healthy and balanced lifestyle that works best for their daily routine.

For further information about nutrition and National Nutrition Month(r), visit the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics website at