Start Today for a Healthy Tomorrow

This year's message, "Start Today for a Healthy Tomorrow," focuses on the importance of healthy eating and physical activity for all Americans. With research confirming that what we eat and how we live can contribute to risks of developing cancer, heart disease, adult onset diabetes, and other chronic health problems, this is a good opportunity to evaluate life styles, and forge ahead towards making positive changes as needed.

"Long term studies indicate that little can be gained by jumping on the latest fad diet band-wagon while 20% or more of all cancers may be prevented by eating at least 5 servings of fruits and vegetables per day," says Patty Nelson, RD, LMNT with Food and Nutrition Services at Alegent Health.

"Moving away from the traditional American plate of large meat portions with potato and vegetable towards 2/3 of the plate consisting of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and beans and 1/3 or less animal protein will not only reduce cancer risk, but also promote weight management," says Nelson.

"Reaching for goals of at least 5 servings daily of fruits and vegetables plus 7 or more servings of whole grains (whole wheat bread, cereals, and pastas, oatmeal, barley, and brown rice) and legumes (dried beans, e.g. navy, pinto, kidney, lima, black, etc., lentils, and peas) will help reshape your diet, and provide essential vitamins and minerals plus health-protecting phytochemicals," Nelson adds.