Healthy Weld 2020


Healthy Eating & Active Living Education

Benefits of improving your eating and exercise habits:

  • Have more energy and manage stress better.
  • Reduce the risk for chronic diseases such as obesity and diabetes.
  • Maintain an optimal weight by finding a healthy balance between the calories you eat and those you burn with physical activity.

Start making healthy changes and get motivated:

  • Talk to your health care provider about your personal health.
  • Read and get informed about the benefits of a healthier lifestyle.
  • Plan ahead so that changes become part of your daily routine.
  • Be a role model for your children by being active, eating a healthy diet, and getting recommended medical screenings.
  • Avoid risky behavior.
  • Keep a food diary to become aware of what, when, where and how much food you eat.
  • Help your body rediscover clues to hunger - like your stomach growling.
  • Avoid eating to relieve stress or because you're bored.
  • Exercise requires no special clothes or even a gym. Put on your tennis shoes and start walking!
  • Set realistic goals, chart your progress, and reward your accomplishments.
  • Remember that losing weight is a slow process (1 to 2 pounds per week) and that fad diets can be harmful to your health.

Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans

The Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans At-A-Glance: A Fact Sheet for Professionals is designed for busy professionals as a quick desk-side reference to the 2008 Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans published by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

These Guidelines are needed because of the importance of physical activity to the health of Americans, whose current inactivity puts them at unnecessary risk. The latest information shows that inactivity among American children, adolescents, and adults remains relatively high, and little progress has been made in increasing levels of physical activity among Americans.

For more information please see "Physical Activity Guidelines" in Helpful Links

Nutrition Guidelines from CDC

Not sure what to think about carbohydrates these days? You've come to the right section. Here are the facts to separate the hype from the truth about carbohydrates.

Dietary Fat
What counts as fat? Are some fats better than other fats? While fats are essential for normal body function, some fats are better for you than others. Trans fats, saturated fats and cholesterol are less healthy than polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats.

Water: Meeting Your Daily Fluid Needs
Ever notice how lifeless a house plant looks when you forget to water it? Just a little water and it seems to perk back up. Water is just as essential for our bodies because it is in every cell, tissue, and organ in your body. That's why getting enough water every day is important for your health.

Healthy people meet their fluid needs by drinking when thirsty and drinking fluids with meals. However, if you're outside in hot weather for most of the day or doing vigorous physical activity, you'll need to make an effort to drink more fluids.

What are the basic food groups?
Are you interested in healthy eating and having a balanced diet? If so, you'll want to learn more about food groups.

You may have grown up with the Basic 4: dairy group, meat group, grain group, and the fruits and vegetables group. As nutrition science has changed, so have these food groups.

What do you think about when you hear the word protein? Maybe it's an ad for some protein shake that promises massive muscles? Or is it the last high-protein diet craze you read about? With all this talk about protein, you might think Americans were at risk for not eating enough. In fact, most of us eat more protein than we need. Protein is in many foods that we eat on a regular basis.

Vitamins and Minerals
Vitamins are organic substances (made by plants or animals), minerals are inorganic elements that come from the earth; soil and water and are absorbed by plants. Animals and humans absorb minerals from the plants they eat. Vitamins and minerals are nutrients that your body needs to grow and develop normally.

Be physically active for at least 60 minutes per day

Q: Why is it important to get 60 minutes of physical activity every day?

A: Physical inactivity is a major risk factor for obesity. Being active can help lower your risk for obesity and can also help you deal with stress, lose weight, and build strong muscles and bones. It will give you more energy to get through the day, and it can help you look, feel, and think better. You do not need to get your 60 minutes all at once. It is just as effective to break up your activity into several 10 or 15 minute sessions throughout the day.

Q: Why aren't Americans more physically active?

A: Americans are becoming more sedentary in today's fast paced and over-worked lifestyles. Family demands and long work hours that cause physical and emotional exhaustion could be contributing factors. Extra weight that a person carries could limit their activities because of pain or chronic diseases. Sedentary tendencies could even be related to today's computer culture that encourages more people to sit in front of computer and TV screens for greater periods of time.

Eat more fruits and vegetables

Q: Why are fruits and vegetables important for my health?

A: Most fruits and vegetables are naturally low in calories and provide essential nutrients and dietary fiber. They may also play a role in preventing certain chronic diseases. When compared to people who eat only small amounts of fruits and vegetables, those who eat more generous amounts, as part of a healthy diet, tend to have reduced risk of chronic diseases. These diseases include obesity, stroke, type 2 diabetes, some types of cancer, cardiovascular disease and hypertension.

Q: How many servings of fruits and vegetables do I need each day?

A: It is recommended to eat 5 or more servings of fruits and vegetables each day to help prevent obesity and other chronic diseases. These foods contain important vitamins, minerals, phytochemicals, and antioxidants and are usually low in calories. In general those with the most color such as green, red, yellow, and orange have the most nutrients.

Drink more water

Q: Why is drinking water so important?

A: Water is essential for our bodies because it is in every cell, tissue, and organ. Most functions within the body require the presence of water. A well hydrated body enables these functions to occur quickly and efficiently. That is why getting enough water every day is important for your health.

Q: How much water should I be drinking per day?

A: It is very important to drink water throughout the day. The amount of water a person should drink daily depends on a number of factors. Body weight and physical activity are factors that can vary the amount of water a person needs. Explore more information and tips from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to help determine your daily fluid needs at

Eat the right portion sizes

Q: What is a serving size?

A: A good guideline to help you understand portion sizes is to translate serving sizes into something visual that is easily remembered. Instead of trying to memorize lists of ounces, cups, and tablespoons, simply compare the serving sizes of particular foods to familiar physical objects. For example, a single serving of vegetables or fruit is about the size of your fist, pasta is about the size of one scoop of ice cream, meat, fish or poultry is the size of a deck of cards, and a potato is the size of a computer mouse.

Q: Why do Americans eat too much?

A: To some extent, overeating is the result of the convenience of fast foods and pre-packaged foods with larger portion sizes and an overindulgence of soft drinks that are high in sugar or fat. Overeating can also occur when people eat for reasons other than hunger, such as for emotional comfort or social gatherings.

Prepare more meals at home

Q: Why should I prepare more meals at home?

A: Despite the fact that eating out is "in", nothing beats a home-cooked meal. Home-cooked meals tend to include more vegetables and fruits, and fewer fried foods and soft drinks. Cooking healthy foods can help with maintaining a healthy weight and is an enjoyable activity to do with family or friends. Meals cooked at home also tend to cost less than restaurant, takeout, or prepackaged meals.

Q: How do I stock a healthy pantry?

A: Make a list with healthy food choices before you go shopping. Learn to read nutrition labels and purchase products that are low in sugar, saturated fat, trans fats, cholesterol, and sodium. Choose ingredients that are as fresh as possible. Buy produce during its growing season when vegetables and fruits are at their peak of freshness. If fresh produce is not available, stock up on frozen or canned vegetables and fruits packed in water. Choose foods that are far away from their "best before" date.

Maintain a healthy weight

Q: Why does the obesity problem seem so out of control in this country?

A: Weight gain is a direct function of the imbalance between too many calories taken in and not enough calories expended by an individual. In simple terms, a person eats too much and is not physically active enough to use those calories for energy, so the extra calories are stored as fat. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has named obesity one of the top threats to the health of this nation because two thirds of the nation is overweight.

Q: Why should I be worried about my diet, my physical activity, and how much I weigh?

A: About half of all deaths in the U.S. can be attributed to largely preventable behaviors and exposures, with tobacco use and poor diet/physical inactivity accounting for the majority of preventable deaths, according to a study in the March 10, 2004 issue of The Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA). Unhealthy behaviors such as a poor diet, physical inactivity and tobacco exposure are risk factors for many chronic diseases including obesity, diabetes, and asthma. There is clear scientific evidence that some of these diseases are, in large part, preventable. By making small changes in your lifestyle, you could change the overall quality of your present and future health and enjoy a longer life.

Q: Isn't a person's health also affected by many other factors, such as availability of medical care, social circumstances and other behavior choices they make?

A: Yes. There are some health risk factors that a person might not have much control over such as lack of health insurance or living at a lower socioeconomic level. However, a person does have some control over their behavior and the choices they make related to their health. Making better decisions about your health can help lower the risk of chronic disease.

Contact Information

Leslie Beckstrom, MS, RD
Healthy Eating Active Living Coordinator
Weld County Department of Public Health and Environment
1555 N. 17th Ave. Greeley, CO 80631
phone:(970) 304-6470 x2387