Get Your Plate in Shape during National Nutrition Month in March

March is National Nutrition Month® and a good time to “Get Your Platein Shape.” Arkansas was named the ninthmost obese state in the country, according to the eighth annual F as in Fat: How Obesity Threatens America’s Future 2011, a report fromthe Trust for America’sHealth (TFAH) and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF). In addition,nearly one-third of our state’s adults – 30.6 percent – areobese.

While these statistics are staggering,they represent only part of the health problem in Arkansas.  Obesity is a primarycontributor to serious chronic illnesses like diabetes and heart disease. According to the Arkansas Department of Health, 53 percent of Arkansas adults are living with at least onechronic disease.

Eating healthier and being more activecan help prevent these chronic illnesses. The Arkansas Coalition for ObesityPrevention (ArCOP) wants to help Arkansans “Get Their Plates inShape” during National Nutrition Month® this March.

GetYour Plate in Shape is an initiative of the Academy of Nutritionand Dietetics to show what kinds and how much of each food group should make upa healthy plate for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Half of every plate should bemade up of fruits and vegetables, and at least half of all grains you consumeshould be whole grain. Other tips to follow to Get Your Plate in Shape are toswitch to fat-free or low-fat milk; vary protein from meat to beans, nuts,fish, poultry and eggs; reduce sodium; reduce calories from fats and sugars;eat smaller portions and enjoy every bite; and be physically active most daysof the week by doing something you enjoy – playing, dancing, walking,gardening, etc.

“National Nutrition Month is agreat time to recognize the importance of healthy eating for obesityprevention,” said Dr. Joe Thompson, Arkansas Surgeon General and Directorof the Arkansas Center for Health Improvement.“Obesity is a true epidemic, one that every family is susceptibleto. Simply put, too many of us are consuming more calories than weburn. Let’s restore ‘energy balance’ in our lives.Starting this month, do something physically active every day, give up sodasfor the month and take concrete steps toward a healthier diet. The USDA My Plate is an easy guide families can useto help make healthy nutrition choices.”

Formore information:

Ideas for getting your plate in shape:

National Nutrition Month and how to getyour plate in shape:

The Arkansas Coalition for ObesityPrevention (ArCOP) is a volunteer organization made up of individuals from adiverse group of organizations who share a mission to improve the health of allArkansascommunities by increasing physical activity and healthy eating to reduce andprevent obesity. For more information, visit