At Ministry Health Care, we believe the choices you make each and every day directly impact the quality of your health. That includes the food you put on your dinner plate and eat every day.

Large portions, eating-on-the-run and the lack of physical activity are contributing to a weight control epidemic:

  • More than 60% of Americans are overweight. (Journal of AMA)
  • In Wisconsin, 19% of adults were obese in 2000. Wisconsin Behavioral Risk Factor Survey (BHI, DHFS 2001)
  • Middle-aged adults who are overweight can expect to life fewer years than normal-weight individuals and middle-aged adults who smoke and are obese can expect to live nearly 14 fewer years. (Annals of Internal Medicine, January 2003)

Carrying around excess weight is a modifiable risk factor for:

  • High blood pressure
  • Elevated blood cholesterol
  • High triglycerides
  • Diabetes
  • Stroke
  • Heart disease

Being overweight forces your heart to work harder. However, with the right lifestyle changes, you can lose weight and, in turn, lower blood pressure, blood cholesterol, and blood sugar levels. You can also reduce your risk for heart disease; for every 10 percent drop in cholesterol levels, the risk of heart disease may diminish by up to 30 percent. (BRFSS, 2001, CDC/NCHS)

Achieving a healthy lifestyle takes time, yet changing your eating habits and nutrition patterns is well worth the effort. Before beginning any weight loss program, you should consult with your physician, nutritionist, and/or dietitian.

In conjunction with that visit, you should evaluate:

  • How often you eat - is it 1, 2, or 3 meals? Or are you a "grazer?"
  • What time of day you eat
  • What triggers your eating
  • How you feel when you eat

In many cases, the awareness of what you eat is the first step in the process - you may want to consider keeping a food journal. You can write down:

  • Weight loss objectives ("to breathe more freely," "be more agile," "reduce blood pressure," etc.)
  • What you ate
  • Portion size and nutritional information
  • How you felt when you ate
  • Non-food rewards

Since everyone has a different body structure, you shouldn't judge your weight loss by what someone else is doing or how much they weigh. Consider calculating your Body Mass Index (BMI) and working toward a healthier measurement.

Also, look at your food selections. Following a diet that is low in saturated fat, cholesterol, and sodium, yet high in fiber will help reduce your risk of coronary heart disease. Is your diet full of saturated fats, high in sodium, high in starch or is there one certain food trigger? Are you eating your colors - enjoying a variety of colors in your fruits and vegetables, each providing certain nutritional benefits?

Look at our Heart Healthy Eating brochure to learn more. Please contact your Ministry Health Care physician group or hospitals for more information about local resources to help you make healthy eating a priority. They provide the Healthy Connections for your health and well-being.


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