By Marley Van Fossen, Screening Integration Coordinator at Elder Law of Michigan
Do you know someone who could benefit from National Nutrition Month? March is important because it is National Nutrition Month. This month brings attention to the importance of making healthy food choices, creating healthy habits, and being physically active. It is a great opportunity for health care providers to educate their patients on good nutrition. It is also a good occasion for caregivers of older adults to encourage their family members to improve eating habits and to give them the nutrition they need to thrive. Eating well at every age is important, although for seniors it is critical, they need a well-rounded diet to maintain a healthy lifestyle. As people get older it becomes more difficult for their bodies to absorb key nutrients. Taking charge of your health will contribute to overall wellbeing. If older adults eat the right food, it can help improve their quality of life and make them less vulnerable to diseases.
In 1973, a campaign was launched for the creation of National Nutrition Week. The goal of National Nutrition Week was to deliver educational messages about nutrition to the public while promoting the profession of dietetics. In 1980, in response to growing public interest, the week-long celebration was expanded to a month-long observance. Read more about the history of National Nutrition Month in the article, National Nutrition Month: A Brief History.
Many organizations celebrate this month by hosting wellness classes and sharing tips on diet and cooking, educational resources, and plating options, such as using smaller plates. The purpose of having National Nutrition Month is to educate people on the importance of a healthy lifestyle throughout the year, not just during the month of March. I think a reminder every year in March helps people stay on the right track.
National Nutrition Month was created by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics with the purpose of increasing awareness for the importance of a healthy lifestyle and how nutrition experts, known as Registered Dietitians (RD), can help people achieve their goals. The goal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics is to educate people on the importance of making healthy food and drink choices thus improving their eating habits and incorporating more physical activity into their lives.
National Nutrition Month raises awareness about healthy eating habits and enhances the quality of life for everyone, especially older adults. I believe nutrition and physical activity are key to maintaining a healthy lifestyle for older adults. If you or someone you know need more information on a healthy lifestyle, I hope this blog is a starting resource for you.