Nutrition & Physical Health

Good nutrition, physical activity, and a healthy body weight are essential parts of a person’s overall health and well-being. Together, these can help decrease a person’s risk of developing serious health conditions, such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes, heart disease, stroke, and cancer. A healthful diet, regular physical activity, and achieving and maintaining a healthy weight also are paramount to managing health conditions so they do not worsen over time.

Most Americans, however, do not eat a healthy diet and are not physically active at levels needed to maintain proper health. Adults in the U.S. consume fruit about 1.1 times per day and vegetables about 1.6 times per day; adolescents showed even lower intake. 1 Across age and gender, Americans’ average daily fruit and vegetable consumption does not meet intake recommendations. 2 Compounding this is the fact that a majority of adults (81.6%) and adolescents (81.8%) do not get the recommended amount of physical activity 3.

 

As a result of these behaviors, the Nation has experienced a dramatic increase in obesity. Today, approximately 1 in 3 adults (34.0%) and 1 in 6 children and adolescents (16.2%) are obese. Obesity-related conditions include heart disease, stroke, and type 2 diabetes, which are among the leading causes of death. In addition to grave health consequences, overweight and obesity significantly increase medical costs and pose a staggering burden on the U.S. medical care delivery system.

 

Ensuring that all Americans eat a healthful diet, participate in regular physical activity, and achieve and maintain a healthy body weight is critical to improving the health of Americans at every age.

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