ANDERSON — While Americans are living longer and many are making healthier lifestyle changes, proper nutrition has become a growing concern.
We are making the right choices. In 1965, more than 42 percent of the adult population smoked cigarettes and today only 18 percent smoke, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
And physical fitness is no longer a fad with more and more people signing up for a gym membership. The International Health, Racquet & Sportsclub Association has reported a 10 percent increase in memberships since 2008.
The problem many Americans are overlooking is with their diets, experts say.
Epidemic obesity rates have been reported across the nation, but when it comes to nutrition, Americans are failing.
According to the President’s Council on Fitness, Sports & Nutrition, we eat too much fat, sodium and calories and the number of fast food restaurants has more than doubled since 1970. The food being consumed also often lacks the vitamins and minerals needed to support a healthy lifestyle
To help bring awareness to this problem, March has been designated by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics as “National Nutrition Month.” This year the theme of the campaign is "Enjoy the Taste of Eating Right" as social, emotional and taste factors that may interfere with eating healthy foods.
Deb Keith, clinical dietitian at Community Hospital Anderson, said people who want to be healthy should eat a diet full of fruits, vegetables and whole grain. This type of diet, combined with regular exercise, can improve health.
“I know it sounds generic, but there is no magic pill and it works,” she said. “For a lot of people just increasing food and vegetable intakes will help them.”
Keith said one of the best ways to know if the right foods and proportions are being followed is by using ChooseMyPlate.gov. The site is maintained by the United States Department of Agriculture and features the revised food guide pyramid.