Nutrition & Physical Activity
The best way to maintain a healthy body weight is to eat right and stay active. A government
agencey called the USDA (United States Department of Agriculture) has created a tool called
"MyPlate" to help people select a healthy, well-balanced diet and appropriate physical activity.
According to the USDA "MyPlate illustrates the five food groups that are the building blocks
for a healthy diet using a familiar image—a place setting for a meal."
Healthier foods are low in calories, low in saturated and trans fats (to improve your cholesterol
levels), and high in fiber (undigestable carbohydrates found in plants). Our bodies cannot digest fiber
or use it for energy. That means that you can eat a lot of fiber and feel full without having to
store any of its calories. Fiber also aids digestion by keeping stool soft so it can travel easily
through the intestine. It can even help fight cancer, particularly colon cancer.
The U.S. Surgeon General and many professional health organizations recommend a diet containing
20-35 grams of fiber a day. The average American diet barely consumes half of this amount, with
daily intake of 10-15 grams.
Physical activity is any movement produced by muscular contractions that burns
calories. Examples of physical activity include pushing a stroller, vacuuming, and mowing the
lawn. Physical activity is intense enough to make you break a sweat, but comfortable enough
to let you carry on a conversation.
How Much Activity Do I Need?
Adults are expected to participate in at least 30 minutes of physical activity per day on
most days of the week. Children and teens should get even more, at least 60 minutes per day.
You can do all of the recommended 30 minutes at once, or break it up into 10- or 15-minute
periods throughout the day.
Walking briskly (3-4 mph) for even 15 to 20 minutes a day begins to lower your chances of
having a heart attack or stroke, or developing type 2 diabetes.
Genetic Science Learning Center. (2013, September 1) Nutrition & Physical Activity.
Retrieved August 25, 2016, from http://learn.genetics.utah.edu/content/history/nutrition/
Nutrition & Physical Activity [Internet]. Salt Lake City (UT): Genetic Science Learning Center; 2013
[cited 2016 Aug 25] Available from http://learn.genetics.utah.edu/content/history/nutrition/
Genetic Science Learning Center. "Nutrition & Physical Activity." Learn.Genetics.September 1, 2013. Accessed August 25, 2016. http://learn.genetics.utah.edu/content/history/nutrition/.