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St. Joseph's Hospital Health Center

St. Joseph's Health Connections

Jul 26 2013
You Are What You Eat

We are what we eat – something that we all have heard and has a great deal of validity to it.

There are many benefits to eating healthfully, including our emotional well being as well as our physical well being. There is a strong relationship between what we eat and the cause/prevention of diseases, physical abilities, functioning of our thought processes, alertness and critical thinking/reasoning.

Obesity has now been classified as a disease by the American Medical Society, not just a condition. As of 2010, 6.6% of the population was classified as morbidly obese – a BMI of 40 or more. 35% of adults and 16.9 % of children were classified as obese (BMI 30 – 30.9). Obesity is associated with an increased risk of diabetes, heart disease, stroke, hypertension, cancers, liver disease, sleep apnea and many other conditions.

A large part of the obesity epidemic is due to our “supersized” portions, dinner plates that are the size of platters, glasses the size of pitchers and oversized restaurant portions. Food is available on every corner at anytime of the day and loaded with fat, sugar and salt. This has led to the oversized population in this country.

Good nutrition is key to preventing obesity and the many associated disease states. Everyone needs to be conscious of what they eat.  Some simple changes may be looking at the types of fats, added sugars, portion sizes, avoiding fried foods and the many empty calories which can tempt us at every turn. It has been shown that just one fried meal a week increases the risk of stroke by as much as 50 %. Decreasing our intake of sodium can help reduce blood pressure and choosing the right fats in what we eat can help reduce the risk of heart disease as well as limiting simple sugars and refined carbohydrates.

A good place to start making healthy changes is to see a registered dietitian for individual consultation to see where changes can start to be made. Appointments for nutritional counseling may be made with St. Joseph’s Outpatient Programs at 458-7171. Physician referral is required.


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The information provided on this site should not be taken as medical advice. As always, we strongly recommend that you consult with a physician if you have any medical concerns.