National Nutrition Month may have crept up on most of us, but there is still plenty of time in the month of March to take the whole issue of good eating seriously.
The annual effort of the American Dietetic Association to raise public awareness of the importance of nutrition and health is closely aligned to exercise. This year's message, "Food & Fitness: Health for a Lifetime," seeks to get Americans moving.
A physically active lifestyle offers benefits such as heart health, strong bones, and stress release.
There are several events in the community designed to encourage good nutrition and activity.
During National Nutrition Month, the Toledo-Lucas County Health Department has joined with the Toledo-Lucas County Public Library to develop a food and nutrition story list in the form of a menu for each branch. A display of books on nutrition and the story list will be available at the branches.
Costumed nutrition characters Bobbi Broccoli and Sally Strawberry will visit some of the libraries during story hour and will demonstrate a nutrition-based activity. They will hand out fruit. Joanne Treuhaft, dietitian and nutrition educator at the health department, dresses in the broccoli costume and often is accompanied by Susan Zies, dietitian with the Ohio State University Extension Service, in the strawberry costume.
They will visit these library branches:
Maumee Library at 10:55 a.m. on March 14,
Washington Library from 9:15 to 11:30 a.m. March 21,
Sylvania Library at 1:30 p.m. April 4 and 5.
The Northwest Dietetic Association sponsors the 11th Annual Fun Run on March 26 at Maumee Bay State Park. The courses include a certified flat 4-mile run and 2-mile walk. There are prizes for age categories 17 and under through 70 and older.
Race registration begins at 12:30 p.m., with the race at 2 p.m. Entry fees benefit Mobile Meals of Toledo. For details, call dietitian Deb Karl at 893-4350.
Other ways to increase exercise in already busy lifestyles:
Get up 30 minutes earlier in the morning and take a brisk walk to start your day.
Instead of going to the drive-through car wash, wash your car yourself.
Park at the far end of the parking lot for a longer walk.
If you are a computer user, move your body at least five minutes for every hour of computer time.
Get a dog and walk together.
Play actively with your children, grandchildren, or pets.
As for children who are overweight and spending more time on the computer or watching television, remember that regular physical activity improves health. Get out the jump rope. Encourage a game of tag or kickball. In-line skating, bike rides, or a family hike are great ways to burn energy.
Kathie Smith is The Blade's food editor.