Nutrition Illiteracy Kimber Hope

What is nutrition illiteracy? Well let’s break it down! Nutrition according to Marriam-Webster is “the process of eating the right kind of food so you can grow properly and be healthy.” Literacy is also defined by Marriam-Webster as: “Knowledge that relates to a specified subject.”

In other words, the knowledge that relates to eating the right kinds of food to be healthy.

Learning to read a nutrition labels will help in make healthier food choices!

Americans today tend to think they are eating healthy but, if you look closely how many people really eat 1 TBSP of butter on their food?

How many of us only eat 3/4 cup of cereal in the mornings?

Or just 3 Oreo cookies.

Knowing how much of each food group to eat isn’t common knowledge. Those with basic health literacy usually over eat in some food groups and under in others.

By checking the serving amounts and eating the recommended servings you can cut several calories, enough to start losing weight. You still get your favorite treats just in the correct amounts!

Although nutrition literacy may seem trivial, it is in fact crucial in terms of today’s concern of obesity and other health concerns closely related to obesity. The Center of Disease Control and Prevention, funded by the government, claims, “Obesity-related conditions include heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes and certain types of cancer, some of the leading causes of preventable death.” The diseases related to obesity can be prevented.

The CDC states, “The estimated annual medical cost of obesity in the U.S. was $147 billion in 2008 U.S. dollars; the medical costs for people who are obese were $1,429 higher than those of normal weight.” If we could increase nutrition literacy in communities like ours the amount of total health care expenditures would dramatically decrease.

Although not all people think alike, some will probably dispute my claim that rural areas are at higher risk of nutrition illiteracy. We have heard mostly about how urban areas are more at risk for low nutrition.

According to the CDC: “More than one-third (36.5%) of U.S. adults have obesity.” At one time, communities like ours had a higher level of activity and obesity wasn't such a big deal. But that was before our time.

Get out there and move! Don't forget to drink water!
What's closer? Fresh healthy food.... Or fast convince food?

In the article written by the USDA “Access to Affordable and Nutritious Food: Measuring and Understanding Food Deserts and Their Consequences” claims that access to nutritious food is hard, studies show there is easier access to convenience stores and fast food then to supermarkets (iii). The USDA says, “Limited access to nutritious food and relatively easier access to less nutritious food maybe linked to poor diets and, ultimately, to obesity and diet-related diseases” (iii).

Hand in hand with limited access is time. Time to get the proper healthy food, to prepare it, and time to eat. How is a person supposed to have that time when they are working long hours to live? The cost of food verses ready made meals. Ready made meals are cheaper then buying the ingredients to make it yourself.
A food desert is any location where it is hard to purchase healthy foods. West Richland, parts of Kennewick and Pasco all have areas where travel 1-20 miles is necessary to reach supermarket.

Personal Experience: Once I started making healthier choices my life changed. Being the healthiest version of myself made me happier, I had a clearer mind, more energy, and less medical restrictions. Just by planning out my meals throughout the week and exercising daily I was able to drop a segnificant amount of weight, improve my grades, and I have more energy!

Do what you can to improve your nutrition literacy and watch yourself become more energized, happier, and higher grades won't be so hard to achieve! By bettering yourself you are setting an example for our community to strive to beat the odds of obesity!!!!

Let's eat better, increase our activity, and support our local markets!

Work Cited

Center for Disease Control and Prevention.

United States Department of Agriculture, “Access to Affordable and Nutritious Food: Measuring and Understanding Food Deserts and Their Consequences”, Economic Research Service, June 2009.

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