Assemblyman Stirpe: Take Steps to Protect Your Health during National Nutrition Month

March 29, 2019

March is National Nutrition Month, a great time to start thinking about ways to stay healthy all year long. Carefully considering what we put into our bodies not only improves how we feel on a day-to-day basis, but can also prevent significant health issues down the line. With just a few steps, we can all look out for our physical and emotional health and well-being.

Earlier this month, my Assembly colleagues and I passed a resolution celebrating March as Nutrition Month in New York to highlight the importance of developing a healthy lifestyle. Childhood obesity has nearly tripled in our nation over the last 40 years, and without intervention, it can cause Type 2 diabetes and heart disease.[1] Fortunately, there are plenty of resources available to help keep our kids – and ourselves – healthy.

Visiting a registered dietitian (RD) is an excellent resource to help you get started on building a safe and realistic eating plan for the long term. An RD can lend a hand in managing diabetes, high blood pressure and other chronic diseases, as well as everyday healthy habits.

Maintaining a nutritious diet includes cutting back on added sugars and saturated fat, which can be found in a lot of packaged and processed food. Here in Central New York, we’re lucky to have access to local farms that provide dairy products, as well as an array of fruits, vegetables and lean meats. As the weather gets warmer, I encourage you all to check out one of our region’s local farmers markets, where you can get fresh produce, information about locally sourced food and even cooking demonstrations.

Another important aspect of leading a healthy lifestyle is staying active. Believe me, I know how busy Central New Yorkers are, and I know how hard it can be to find the time to exercise. But studies show that even light levels of exercise can help improve your health. Taking a brisk walk or a short jog through your neighborhood or on any of the beautiful trails here in our region will help you feel healthier and happier. Further, exercise is a known stress reliever and has a positive impact on blood pressure and cholesterol levels. The American Heart Association recommends 150 minutes of moderate activity or 75 minutes of vigorous exercise weekly.[2]

For seniors looking to improve their health, the Onondaga County Office for the Aging’s Senior Nutrition services provides the Senior Farmers’ Market Nutrition Program (SFMNP) that gives eligible older adults coupons to buy locally grown fresh fruits and vegetables at participating farmers markets. You can find out more information at ongov.net/aging/farmers-market-coupons.html. Additionally, senior dining sites in the community can help provide information and educational programs, counseling services, health screenings and exercise programs. For more information on nutrition education or to arrange nutrition education classes, contact the Onondaga County Office for the Aging at 315-435-2362 or visit its website at ongov.net/aging/nutrition.html.

In March and every day, I encourage all of us to consider what we eat and to get moving more. And as always, if you have any questions or concerns about this or any other community matter, please don’t hesitate to contact me at 315-452-1115 or at StirpeA@nyassembly.gov.