Poor diet, lack of physical activity, and tobacco use are the three leading causes of disease and early death in the US. Lack of healthy foods and excessive intake of foods high in fat, sugar and salt contribute to obesity, diabetes and other health problems. Over time, rates of chronic diseases such as diabetes have been steadily increasing in Washington State, especially among low income and minority groups and those with lower education levels.
Because more than one-third of children and more than two-thirds of adults in the United States are overweight or obese, the Dietary Guidelines for Americans places stronger emphasis on reducing calorie consumption and increasing physical activity.
Improving our eating habits is not only good for every individual and family, but also for our country.
Healthy eating is essential for quality of life from beginning to end:
Healthy mothers and babies during pregnancy and breastfeeding to support lifelong health
Healthy growth in childhood
Good school performance in childhood and adolescence
Protection against chronic diseases such as cancer, diabetes and cardiovascular disease
Healthy food can be defined as that which can provide a balanced diet that meets national dietary guidelines and provides plenty of vegetables, fruits, whole grains, low-fat dairy products, healthy fats such as olive and canola oil, and protein such as lean meats and legumes. Especially important are fruits and vegetables, particularly leafy greens—eat five servings a day for better health!
Washington State Department of Health: How to Eat Healthy
USDA Dietary Guidelines for Americans: Executive Summary
Opportunities for Increasing Access to Healthy Foods in Washington