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Nutrition and Exercise

Key Dietary Recommendations from the US Department Of Health and Human Services/US Department of Agriculture, 2005 

  1. Adequate Nutrients Within Calorie Needs:

  • Consume a variety of nutrient-dense foods and beverages within and among the basic food groups, while choosing foods that limit the intake of saturated and trans fats, cholesterol, added sugars, and alcohol.

  • Meet recommended intakes within energy needs by adopting a balanced eating pattern.

  1. Weight Management:

  • To maintain body weight in a healthy range, balance calories from foods and beverages with calories expended with exercise and physical activity.

  • To prevent gradual weight gain, make small decreases in food and beverage calories while increasing daily physical activity.

  1. Physical Activity:

  • Engage in regular physical activity and reduce sedentary activities to promote a healthy body weight. To reduce the risk of chronic disease in adulthood:  Engage in 30 min of moderate intensity physical activity at work or at home at least 5 days a week.

  • Greater health benefits may be obtained by engaging in physical activity of more vigorous intensity or longer duration.

  • To help manage body weight and prevent gradual weight gain in adulthood: Engage in approximately 60 min of moderate to vigorous intensity activity on most days of the week while not exceeding calculated caloric intake requirements.

  • To sustain weight loss in adulthood, participate in 60-90 min of daily moderate-intensity physical activity while not exceeding caloric intake requirements.

  • Include cardiovascular conditioning, stretching exercises for flexibility, and resistance exercise or calisthenics for muscle strength and endurance.

  1.  Food Groups To Encourage:

  • Consume a sufficient amount of fruits and vegetables while staying within energy needs. Two cups of vegetables per day are recommended for a reference of 2,000- calorie intake.

  • Choose a variety of fruits and vegetables each day. In particular, select from all five vegetable subgroups (dark green, orange, legumes, starchy vegetables and other vegetables) several times a week.

  • Consume 3 oz serving equivalents of whole-grain products per day, with the rest of the recommended grains coming from enriched or whole-grain products. In general, at least half the grains should come from whole grains

  • Consume 3 cups/day of fat-free of low-fat milk or equivalent milk products.

  1.  FATS:

  • Consume < 10% of calories from saturated fatty acids and < 300 mg/day of cholesterol.  Saturated fats are typically derived from animal sources (e.g., whole milk, egg yolk, red meat, shortening).  Keep trans fatty acid consumption as low as possible.

  • Keep total intake between 20%-35% of calories, with most fats coming from sources of polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fatty acids such as fish, nuts, and vegetable oils. By contrast, plants are good sources of healthy (monounsaturated, polyunsaturated) fats, including soybean, safflower, olive, and canola oils, and nuts. Even these foods should be consumed in moderation, though, as they are high in calories. Healthy omega-3 fatty acids can be obtained by consuming fish (salmon, trout) twice a week, as well as eating walnuts and flaxseed.

  • Meat, poultry, dry beans, and milk products should be lean, low-fat, or fat-free. By decreasing your intake of fats, saturated and hydrogenated, you can lower your levels of low-density lipoprotein or “bad” cholesterol.

  • Limit intake of fats and oils high in saturated and/or trans fatty acids, and choose products low in such fats and oils. Hydrogenated fats are commonly found in commercial cakes, cookies, crackers, pies, and fried foods, as well as margarines that do not specify “no trans fats.” All food labels are now required to list trans fats in the nutritional information.

  1.  Carbohydrates:

  • Carbohydrates should constitute 45% to 65 % of total daily caloric consumption (225 to 325 g/d, based on a 2,000-kcal/d intake).

  • Choose fiber-rich fruits, vegetables, and whole-grains often.

  • Choose and prepare foods and beverages with little added sugars or calorie sweeteners.

  • Reduce the incidence of dental caries by practicing good oral hygiene and consuming sugar- and starch-containing foods and beverages less frequently. 

  • “Low-carb” diets that avoid carbohydrates like soda, snack foods, sweets, regular pasta, and white rice indeed help to eliminate excess calories and promote weight loss.  However, banning entire food groups including breads, cereals, fruits, and some vegetables results in the loss important vitamins and fiber from the diet.  Bowel problems, dry skin, hair loss, irritability, sleep disturbances, poor concentration, and headaches may occur.  In addition, low carb diets teach nothing about portion control, moderation, or behavior modification.

  1.  Sodium and Potassium:

Consume <2,300 mg of sodium (1 tsp) of salt per day.

Choose and prepare foods with little salt.  Consume potassium-rich foods, such as fruits and vegetables. Cook fresh foods more often and use spices rather than salt.

 Reducing salt intake can decrease the risk of hypertension and, in turn, coronary heart disease, congestive heart failure, stroke, and kidney disease. As approximately 75% of sodium intake is derived from salt added to foods during processing, reading food labels is important to making low sodium choices. Frozen dinners, sandwich meats, and crackers should all be chosen with a view to sodium content.

A potassium-rich diet can also help to lower blood pressure. The recommended intake is 4,700 mg/d, mainly through fruits and vegetables.

  1.  Alcoholic Beverages:

Those who drink alcohol should do so in moderation, defined as the consumption of up to one drink per day for women and up to two drinks per day for men. 


Hiking, 370/h
Gardening, 330/h
Dancing, 330/h
Golf (walking, carrying clubs), 330/h
Bicycling (<10mph), 290/h
Walking (3.5 mph), 280/h
Weight training, 220/h
Swimming (crawl, 20yd/min), 288/h
Ballroom dancing, 210/h
Canoeing (2.5 mph), 174/h
Recreational Volleyball, 264/h
Golf (twosome, carrying clubs), 324/h

Running (5 mph), 590/h
Bicycling (> 10 mph), 590/h
Aerobics, 480/h
Walking (4.5 mph), 460/h
Weight Training, 440/h
Basketball, 440/h
Circuit weight training, 756/h
Ice Skating (9 mph), 384/h
Swimming (crawl, 45 yd/min), 522 h
Cross-country skiing, 690/h
Tennis (recreational singles), 450/h
Jogging (6 mph), 654/h