Monday, March 7, 2016

Talk Healthy Eats with Your Patients for Healthy Hearts this March

As health professionals, we understand that one of the most important ways we can protect our hearts is by eating heart healthy foods. We also know that most people aren’t doing it. Only 9% of Americans consume the daily recommended amount of vegetables. Approximately 13% eat enough fruit. And the vast majority of Americans – 90%– consume too much sodium. These poor habits increase Americans’ risk for high blood pressure and cholesterol, obesity and diabetes – major risk factors for cardiovascular disease.

Celebrate National Nutrition Month by talking with your patients about the importance of heart healthy eating and the steps they can take to do so. Share facts and resources about healthy food choices and be sure to address their questions. There are a lot of myths about food and healthy eating out in the world. As a health provider, you have the power to help Americans improve their eating habits. So, arm your patients and publics with tools and information to help them make hearth healthier food choices this month.

And in case you need it, here are some resources that can get the conversation started with your patients:

  • Million Hearts® Healthy Eating & Lifestyle Resource Center – Use this resource to find hearthealthy recipes and easy meal plans. You can walk through the meal plan resource with your patients to layout personalized eating plans and shopping lists based on their current weight and how many pound they should lose each week. 
  • American Heart Association Sodium Infographics – Dispel myths about sodium – such as, “My blood pressure is normal, so I don’t need to worry about how much sodium I eat,” – and educate adults and children with these graphic, easy-to-understand materials.
  • Sodium and Food Sources – Regardless of whether your patient wants or needs to lose weight, talk with them about reducing their sodium intake. CDC offers educational materials about salt that you can share and discuss with your patients.
  • – Help your patients understand what their meals should look like. The USDA Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2015 – 2020, offers information about portion sizes and education for patients, as well as tips and tools for health care professionals.

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