March is National Nutrition Month, an annual campaign to educated people and patients on nutritious food and healthy lifestyle choices.
There is a definite need for nutrition education in America. One of the key findings of the NutriNet-Sante study that regularly collects information from 17,000 people, is the association between diets high in ultra-processed foods and an increased risk of cancer, cardiovascular disease, mortality, depressive symptoms, type 2 diabetes, obesity, and gastrointestinal disorders.
Several of these conditions, such as obesity, cardiovascular disease, and type 2 diabetes are indicators of Metabolic Syndrome – a cluster of conditions that increase the risk of heart disease, stroke, and type 2 diabetes. These conditions include increased blood pressure, high blood sugar, excess body fat around the waist, and abnormal cholesterol or triglyceride levels. More than 40% of Americans over the age of 55 have signs of Metabolic Syndrome.
The COVID pandemic has highlighted the risk of these conditions, as research shows that obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, and hypertension put a patient at higher risk for severe symptoms of the virus.
Nutrition and health
The CDC reports that 40% of American adults aged 20-39 years are obese. It rises by age group — 44.8% for adults aged 40-59 years, and 42.8% among adults aged 60 and older. These numbers show that a large portion of the American population is not following a healthy and nutritious diet and as a result, their health is at risk.
According to Harvard Health, the only proven remedies for the metabolic syndrome are exercise, diet, and lifestyle changes. Nutrition coaching is a way to help people learn what good nutrition is and how to make changes they can embrace and sustain. Eating to be healthy is not a diet or a phase, it’s a lifestyle choice.
The Need for nutrition coaching
A Sugar Gap Study found that only 28% of Americans have adequate knowledge of nutrition and health and 12 % are aware of hidden sugars in foods they eat. That means there is an 88% knowledge gap around what hidden sugars are and its impact on the body.
Millennials have the biggest knowledge gap about nutritious food; for example, they are the most misinformed about how drinks digest in their body and scored lowest of all generations on correctly identifying foods that convert to sugar in the body.
The growing obesity statistics are a clear indication of a lack of nutrition knowledge. And while many people struggle to lose weight, the motivation may be the problem. Dieting to get thin is harder to sustain that eating nutritious food to be healthy and live a longer, active life.
For more information on nutrition coaching or statistics visit https://unsinc.info/nutrition-coaching