As we start each year with new goals, health strategies, and resolutions, pick life-changing habits that will last for years to come. Healthy People 2020, created by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, sets decade long goals for widespread improved health outcomes.
Since 1980, Healthy People has set 10-year health goals for Americans covering many topics ranging from obesity prevention to breastfeeding awareness.
Are you up for the most aggressive and comprehensive health change challenge? Can you maintain these changes until the year 2020?
Healthy People 2020
Vision: A society in which people live long and healthy lives.
Goal: Attain high quality, longer lives free of preventable disease, disability, injury, and premature death. Promote quality of life, healthy development, and healthy behaviors across all life stages.
New Year Resolutions
Obesity can be found among 30% of the U.S. population.
- Goal: 10% reduction of obesity in the U.S. by 2020.
- Make the change: Reduce your overall caloric intake. Strive to not exceed 2,000 calories a day and make conscious choices to choose healthier, low calorie foods. Follow the suggestions below!
Eat Your Fruit. On average only 1 cup of fruit is consumed every day in the U.S.
- Goal: Eat 2 cups of fruit a day.
- Make the change: Have fruit for a snack, side dish, or dessert. Low-sugar syrup canned fruit is just as nutritious as whole fruit and can be stored longer than fresh fruit. Dried fruit is also a great way to eat more fruit! It is also sweeter and better for snacking.
Eat Your Vegetables. Only 1½ cups of vegetables are consumed by Americans a day.
- Goal: Eat at least 2½ cups of vegetables a day.
- Make the change: Keep vegetables out like baby carrots or celery sticks for easy snacking. Vegetables can be easily incorporated into every meal, like adding zucchini or peas to pasta or rice. Salads are an easy way to get some more vegetables in your diet too. Frozen vegetables are also a great way to store and cook vegetables and are just as nutritious as fresh vegetables and last for months. When choosing vegetables, stick to the dark leafy vegetables like spinach and broccoli because they are the most nutrient packed and disease preventing.
Choose Whole Grains. Americans today consume on average half an ounce of whole grains a day. Not many people choose whole grains when planning their meal, though it makes you more full, fights cholesterol, and packed with vitamins and nutrients.
- Goal: Eat 1.3 ounces of whole grains a day.
- Make the change: Choosing whole grains when planning a meal is easy. Switching to whole grain pasta, brown rice, and whole grain bread can eaisly increase your grain intake without changing your food choices or meal options. Eating oatmeal, whole grain cereal, or whole grain toast for breakfast can start your day right, with the whole grain keeping you full until lunch.
Slow the Salt. Salt is linked to increased blood pressure, dehydration, and heart disease. The average American eats 3,640 milligrams of sodium a day.
- Goal: Reduce your salt intake to 2,300 milligrams a day.
- Make the change: Read the food labels! Many foods that are heavily processed are high is sodium. Foods like ketchup, pasta sauce, microwave dinners, lunchmeat, and pizza are loaded with salt. Putting the saltshaker down at the table and useing herbs for flavor instead of salt when cooking will cut down your salt intake.
Reduce Hunger in the US. Currently 1.3% of US households are considered very low food secure, meaning the household has skipped a meal because of lack of money or resources.
- Goal: Reduce U.S. food insecurity to 0.3% by 2020.
- Make the change: Donate canned or nonperishable food items to your local food pantry or food bank. Volunteering or donating to your local soup kitchen can help a family in need and give yourself the satisfaction of helping others.
Make life changing goals in 2012 and have a happy New Year!
Healthy People 2020: http://www.healthypeople.gov/2020/default.aspx