DPH Encourages Healthy Lifestyle Choices for National Nutrition Month

March 9, 2015

The Georgia Department of Public Health’s (DPH) Worksite Wellness program advocates for physical activity and healthy food choices as part of our daily work environment. During National Nutrition Month this March, DPH employees are geared up to make the most out of this health observance.

Coordinated annually by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, National Nutrition Month is a nutrition education campaign aimed at increasing public discussions about informed food choices and positive eating and physical activity habits.

This year’s theme, “Bite into a Healthy Lifestyle,” encourages consumers to adopt a healthy lifestyle that is focused on consuming fewer calories, making informed food choices and getting daily exercise to achieve a healthy weight and reduce risks of chronic disease such as heart disease, cancer and diabetes.

DPH’s Worksite Wellness program is hosting workshops all month to engage active employees in additional health and fitness programming and to encourage those not as active to find healthy habits they can begin to implement during March.

Susanne Koch, MS, ACSM-HFS, PES, DPH worksite wellness coordinator, is sharing an important message of using whole foods to energize your body with nutrients rather than sugary or heavily processed foods.

“The old adage that ‘you are what you eat’ is true,” said Koch. “If you eat foods heavy in sugar, trans-fat, sodium and high fructose corn syrup, you can get sluggish throughout the workday and unable to maintain high performance and concentration. On the contrary, whole foods – like fruits and vegetables – fuel your body with an abundance of energy.”

Koch’s nutrition tip when shopping is to plan in advance to avoid bagging all the unhealthy foods high in trans-fat, sodium and carbohydrates.

“Although foods that come in packages or out of the vending machine are convenient, they are not filled with important nutrients you need,” said Koch. “When grocery shopping, stay on the outside aisles where you can find fruits, vegetables, dairy and lean meats.”

Thanks to DPH’s Physical Activity Policy, employees are strongly encouraged to move at least 30 minutes per day and not schedule meetings during lunch time. Some employees serve as trained fitness instructors for an exciting array of classes including Bootcamp, Indoor Cycling, Body Flex, Pilates, Kickboxing and Tai Chi, among many others.

DPH’s efforts to keep employees healthy were recently expanded to put a healthy twist on group meetings.

“Employees should familiarize themselves with the new Healthy Meeting Policy that was approved in November 2014,” said Koch. “The new policy encourages healthier eating options for DPH-sponsored meetings. Administrators should consider working with vendors that offer a wider range of healthy food selections including lower calorie and vegetarian options.”

During Nutrition Month, Worksite Wellness is coordinating an impressive list of health-focused activities and partnerships including Weight Watchers meetings, Good Measure Meals delivery service, biometric screenings (offered on March 13 at the Georgia Public Health Lab in Decatur) and Lunch N’ Learns on topics such as The Benefits of Probiotics, Mindful Midday Meals, Ask a Registered Dietician and Fueling the Workday.

As part of DPH’s wellness culture, employees can join the Capitol Hill Fitness Center (CHFC) for a nominal fee and chose from 27 weekly group exercise classes as well as work with a personal trainer. CHFC also helps employees prepare for local athletic events such as the Peachtree Road Race and the annual Jingle Bell Walk/Run with walking and running programs.

To learn more about staying fit and physical activity at DPH, visit Capitol Hill Fitness Center website. For more information about National Nutrition Month, visit the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics online.   

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