Nutrition and the health of young people


By Lethia Lee - Contributing columnist



Lethia Lee


Proper nutrition promotes the optimal growth and development of children, Healthy eating helps prevent high cholesterol and high blood pressure and helps reduce the risk of developing chronic disease such as cardiovascular disease, cancer, and diabetes. Healthy eating helps reduce one’s risk for developing obesity, osteoporosis, iron deficiency, and dental cavities.

Healthy eating is associated with reduced risk for many diseases, including several of the leading causes of death: heart disease, cancer, stroke, and diabetes. Healthy eating in childhood and adolescence is important for proper growth and development and can prevent health problems such as all the above named diseases. The Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommend a diet rich in fruits and vegetables, whole grains, and fat-free and low-fat dairy products for persons aged two years and older. The guidelines also recommend that children, adolescent and adults limit intake of solid fats (major sources of saturated and trans fatty acids). Cholesterol, sodium, added sugars, and refined grains. Unfortunately, most young people are not following the recommendations set forth in the Dietary Guidelines for Americans.

Schools are in a unique position to promote healthy eating and help ensure appropriate food and nutrient intake among students. Schools provide students opportunities to consume an array of foods and beverages throughout the school day and enable students to learn about and practice healthy eating behaviors. For example, as a healthy alternative to sugar-sweetened beverages, schools can provide students access to safe, free drinking water. Schools should ensure that only nutritious and appealing foods and beverages are provided in school cafeterias, vending machines, snack bars, school stores, and other venues that offer food and beverages to students. In addition, nutrition education should be part of a comprehensive school health education curriculum.

Benefits of healthy eating promotes optimal growth and development of children. Healthy eating helps prevent high cholesterol and high blood pressure and helps reduce the risk of developing chronic disease such as cardiovascular disease, cancer, and diabetes. There are consequences of a poor diet it can lead to energy imbalance, eating more calories than you expend through physical activity and can increase the risk for overweight and obesity. A poor diet can increase the risk for lung, esophageal, stomach, colorectal and prostate cancers. Someone who eats fast food one or more times per week are at an increased risk for weight gain. Drinking sugar-sweetened beverages can result in weight gain, overweight and obesity. Providing access to water gives students a healthy alternative to sugar-sweetened beverages.

Remember it is always a good idea to practice healthy eating habits with our young children, so that when they become adults they will have that learned behavior built in. It is something they will be able to use with their own families.

Eating a healthy breakfast is associated with improved cognitive function especially memory, reduced absenteeism, and improved mood.

For more information, contact Lethia Lee at 910-592-7161.

Lethia Lee
http://www.clintonnc.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/07/web1_Lethia-New-2.jpgLethia Lee

By Lethia Lee

Contributing columnist

Lethia Lee is the EFNEP program assistant for the Expanded Food Nutrition Education Program with the Sampson County Cooperative Extension Center. Reach her by calling 910-592-7161.

Lethia Lee is the EFNEP program assistant for the Expanded Food Nutrition Education Program with the Sampson County Cooperative Extension Center. Reach her by calling 910-592-7161.

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