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Nutrition Month Observed at NIH

March is National Nutrition Month, and the theme for 2002, developed by the American Dietetic Association, is "Start Today for a Healthy Tomorrow." The theme reminds us that daily food intake is an important component of overall health and that it is never too late to improve health by improving diet.

The 2000 Dietary Guidelines for Americans provide valuable ABC's: Aim for fitness, aim for a healthy weight, and be physically active each day (about 30 minutes of moderate activity/day for adults). Build a Healthy Base — let the food guide pyramid influence your food choices. Choose a variety of grains daily, especially whole grains. Choose a variety of fruits and vegetables daily. Keep food safe to eat.

Also, choose sensibly — ADA recommends a diet that is low in saturated fat and cholesterol and moderate in total fat. Choose beverages and foods to moderate your intake of sugars. Choose and prepare foods with less salt. And if you drink alcoholic beverages, do so in moderation.

For information about Nutrition Month activities at NIH, visit the Division of Nutrition Research Coordination web site at The site also provides nutrition messages prepared especially for NIH employees on the topics of the 5-A-Day Program, diet and cardiovascular disease, overweight and obesity, physical activity, eating out and dietary supplements.

A special presentation on "The DASH Studies" will be given by Dr. Frank M. Sacks on Thursday, Mar. 7 in Rockledge II, Conf. Rm. 9112 from 1:30 to 2:30 p.m. Sacks is professor of cardiovascular disease prevention in the department of nutrition, Harvard School of Public Health. All NIH employees are welcome.

DASH stands for Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension, and the studies were supported by NHLBI. The DASH diet is rich in fruits, vegetables, and low fat dairy foods and reduced in total and saturated fat. Results from the DASH-sodium trials (where subjects received the DASH diet and a reduced sodium intake) showed lowered blood pressure for all population subgroups studied. Call 594-8822 for more information about the presentation.

The dietetic interns at the Clinical Center will post a display with contests and cooking demonstrations from noon to 1 p.m. in the Bldg. 10 main cafeteria on Thursday, Mar. 21 and in the Bldg. 31 cafeteria on Friday, Mar. 22. They will offer recipes, handouts and prizes.

Also, be on the lookout for your colorful NIH desk-to-desk National Nutrition Month flyer. It will be in your mailbox in early March and will provide information about how to improve your diet and increase your physical activity.

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