As the Get Moving CHFS! physical activity program draws to a close, employees are encouraged to start thinking about and planning for the next component of the ongoing CHFS Worksite Health and Wellness promotion.
Now that we’re exercising more and enjoying the benefits of increased physical activity, it’s important to examine and, if necessary, modify the type and quantity of fuel we’re giving our bodies to keep us moving.
Nutrition is the sister ingredient of physical activity and together, they make up the two most vital aspects of a healthy lifestyle that can be maintained throughout life.
The CHFS health and wellness emphasis on nutrition will take the form of the 5 A Day Challenge, co-sponsored by the National Cancer Institute and Produce for Better Health Foundation and the largest national public-private nutrition education program ever launched. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention also has a role in promoting the program by working with and assisting states with their 5 A Day programs and incorporating 5 A Day programming into its comprehensive nutrition and physical activity grants.
The CHFS 5 A Day Challenge nutrition project officially begins July 5.
At its core, the CHFS 5 A Day Challenge seeks to increase to five or more servings the quantity of fruits and vegetables employees and their families eat each day. In addition, the program offers helpful hints and nutritional information that further support already compelling evidence that eating fruits and vegetables can improve overall health and may reduce the risk of cancer.
Several Kentucky district health departments have sponsored successful 5 A Day Challenge programs, including Northern Kentucky, Central Kentucky, Barren River, Lexington-Fayette County and Purchase. All 55 local health departments in Kentucky have provided community activities centered around 5 A Day for the last two years.
Follow-up surveys were conducted at the conclusion of each challenge to track participants’ success. In the Central Kentucky health district, participants reported an increase in consumption of fruits and vegetables from 28 percent before the program to 66 percent two months after completion.
During the course of the CHFS 5 A Day Challenge, participants will be encouraged to increase both their consumption of fruits and vegetables as well as their awareness of the health benefits this single lifestyle change can offer, such as:
- Reduces the risk for cancer, cardiovascular disease, stroke, hypertension, birth defects, Alzheimer’s disease, cataracts, diverticulosis, diabetes, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and osteoporosis.
- Helps with weight loss and healthy weight maintenance.
- Increases intake of vitamins, minerals and phytochemicals (plant nutrients that assist in prevention of chronic disease).
- Overall improvement in employee health, leading to leading to fewer sick days and increased productivity.
Recipes, quick dish and meal preparation ideas, tips on what to look for when selecting fresh produce, nutritional values of various fruits and veggies and more information will be offered as part of the education component of the CHFS 5 A Day Challenge.
Keep reading Focus on Wellness for more news on plans for the CHFS 5 A Day Challenge launch and the other health and wellness activities and opportunities being planned for the interim period between Get Moving CHFS! and the 5 A Day Challenge.