Healthy Eating Depends on Personal Responsibility
Jack Sprat could eat no fat, and it appears Americans can eat no lean or, at least, very little. A growing and heavy body of evidence shows the country as a whole tipping the scales into obesity.
“The state of the nation is one of excessive intake of calories composed of a low amount of fruits and vegetables,” says Robert F. Kushner, MD, professor of medicine at the Feinberg School of Medicine and medical director of the Wellness Institute at Northwestern Memorial Hospital. “The number one consequence of our diet is obesity.”
Yet personal responsibility remains at the core of making healthy eating choices. And individuals can always improve their diets and change their lifestyles for the better at any time, according to the nutrition and obesity specialist.
“Downsize instead of supersize,” suggests the coauthor of the recent book, Dr. Kushner’s Personality Type Diet (St. Martin’s Press, 2003). “Make it your business to eat five servings of fruits and vegetables every day. One serving amounts to only half a cup. If you have cereal for breakfast, sprinkle berries or add sliced bananas. Put color—greens, reds, yellows—on your plate. Dare to go bare once a week by eating a meal without meat.”
Following a well-balanced diet provides benefits that go beyond weight control. A nutritious eating plan combined with regular physical activity can help lower the risk of heart disease, diabetes, and hypertension in individuals of all shapes and sizes. “The first step is goal setting,” says Dr. Kushner. “You need to know where you want to go, such as losing weight, before you can lay down the architecture of your diet and change the course of your health.”