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Healthy Eating

Eating healthy means giving your body nutritious foods in the right amounts. When people eat healthy foods in the right amounts, they find it easier to manage their weight and prevent chronic (long-lasting) diseases.

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Why is eating healthy important?

Good nutrition can help you prevent unhealthy conditions and illnesses, including:

  • Cancer
  • Diabetes
  • Heart disease
  • High blood pressure
  • High cholesterol
  • Osteoporosis
  • Overweight and obesity

Learning healthy eating habits can make you look and feel better now and keep you healthy for the future.  Healthy eating can help you:

  • Control weight
  • Have the necessary daily nutrients
  • Improve brain and bodily functions
  • Strengthen bones, muscles, and joints
  • Have healthy skin, teeth, hair, and nails
  • Boost energy levels
  • Improve immune system

There are lots of different healthy foods you can eat including:

  • Fresh fruits* (any fruit or 100% fruit juice counts)
  • Vegetables* (any vegetable or 100% vegetable juice counts)
  • Fat-free or low-fat milk items (butter, cream, sour cream, and cream cheese do not count)
  • Whole grains
  • Lean meats and poultry (meats and chicken with lower fat content)
  • Seafood (eat at least 8 ounces each week)
  • Beans, unsalted nuts, and seeds
  • Eggs

*May be eaten fresh, frozen, canned, or dried

Is Washoe County eating healthy?

  • Less than 25% of adults in Washoe County eat the recommended amount of fruits and vegetables everyday (Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System, 2005)
  • 20.8% of Washoe County residents are obese (BRFSS, 2010)
  • 14.2% of adults 18 or older in Washoe County described their health status as fair or poor (Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System, 2009)
  • Only 21% of high school students in Washoe County eat vegetables every day, and only 32% eat fruit everyday (Youth Risk Behavior Survey, 2007)

Where can I learn more?

  • SmallSteps.org offers information and resources that can help guide small steps that lead to a big change.
  • The Food Pyramid has been replaced with My Plate, complete with information and guidance for a healthy diet.
  • Key recommendations and Selected messages from the Dietary Guidelines for Americans are available for consumers, as well as the full publication which may appeal more to educators, health professionals and policy makers.

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