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Proteins are made up of amino acids, and they provide energy to produce muscles and make the body grow. They do most of the work in cells and are required in a variety of functions to build and maintain the body.
Examples: Meat, egg, nuts
Carbohydrates, or carbs, provide fast energy to the body in the form of glucose sugar, which can be used by the body immediately or stored in the liver and muscles. A couple of classifications of carbs are simple (quickly digested) or complex (including starch and fiber), and good (less refined, more nutrients) or bad (highly refined with less nutrients).
Examples: Pasta/Noodle, bread, potato, candy
Fats in nutrition are often referred to as triglycerides, and they are essential for certain functions like cell membranes and energy storage. Fats are often classified by their degree of saturation; trans fats increase bad cholesterol levels and saturated fats are a risk for heart disease as well. Polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats are healthier.
Examples: Avocado, butter
Dietary Guidelines 2015-2020 Healthy Eating Patterns
- A variety of vegetables from all of the subgroups—dark green, red and orange, legumes (beans and peas), starchy, and other
- Fruits, especially whole fruits
- Grains, at least half of which are whole grains
- Fat-free or low-fat dairy, including milk, yogurt, cheese, and/or fortified soy beverages
- A variety of protein foods, including seafood, lean meats and poultry, eggs, legumes (beans and peas), and nuts, seeds, and soy products
- Limit saturated fats and trans fats, added sugars, and sodium
Overweight and Obesity Information:
- Weight that is higher than what is considered as a healthy weight for a given height is described as overweight or obese. Body Mass Index, or BMI, is used as a screening tool. It's one way to tell if you are at a healthy weight, overweight, or have obesity.
- In 2013, the American Medical Association (AMA) made a decision to recognize obesity as a complex, chronic disease that requires medical attention.
- In 2017–2018, the age-adjusted prevalence of obesity in adults was 42.4%
- There is no single or simple solution to the obesity epidemic. It’s a complex problem and there has to be a multifaceted approach.
- At the individual level, the key to achieving and maintaining a healthy weight isn’t short-term dietary changes; it’s about a lifestyle that includes healthy eating and regular physical activity.
Smoking and Vaping
Cigarettes and E-cigarettes contain nicotine, which is a stimulant. Nicotine is a highly addictive chemical, and it can make people become addicted to smoking and vaping. There are studies to suggest that nicotine by itself (without smoking or vaping) affects brain development in the fetus.
Smokers are more likely than nonsmokers to develop heart disease, stroke, and lung cancer. Cigarette smoking harms nearly every organ of the body, causes many diseases, and reduces the health of smokers in general.
Cigarette smoking is the leading preventable cause of death in the United States.
Each year, nearly half a million Americans die prematurely of smoking or exposure to secondhand smoke. Another 16 million live with a serious illness caused by smoking.
Smoking causes about 90% (or 9 out of 10) of all lung cancer deaths. More women die from lung cancer each year than from breast cancer.
Smoking can cause lung disease by damaging your airways and the small air sacs (alveoli) found in your lungs.
Smoking can cause cancer almost anywhere in your body (bladder, blood, cervix, colon, esophagus, kidney, larynx, liver, pancreas, stomach, lung).
There is no safe level of smoking. Even low-intensity smokers are at increased risk of earlier death.
Quitting smoking reduces risks for heart disease, stroke, and cancer.
While e-cigarettes/vaping is less harmful than cigarette smoking, it is not without danger. Over 2,800 hospitalized cases of lung injury from e-cigarette/vaping have been reported to the Center for Disease Control (CDC). 68 deaths have been confirmed.
What Is Secondhand Smoke?
- Secondhand smoke is smoke from burning tobacco products, such as cigarettes, cigars, or pipes.
- Secondhand smoke also is smoke that has been exhaled, or breathed out, by the person smoking.
- Tobacco smoke contains more than 7,000 chemicals, including hundreds that are toxic and about 70 that can cause cancer.
There is no risk-free level of secondhand smoke exposure; even brief exposure can be harmful to health.
In children, secondhand smoke causes the following:
- Ear infections
- More frequent and severe asthma attacks
- Respiratory symptoms (for example, coughing, sneezing, and shortness of breath)
- Respiratory infections (bronchitis and pneumonia)
- A greater risk for sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS)
In adults who have never smoked, secondhand smoke can cause:
- Heart disease
- Lung cancer
Alcohol is a depressant. It slows down chemicals and pathways that your brain cells use to send messages. It alters mood, slows reflexes, and throws you off-balance.
In the United States, an estimated 95,000 people (approximately 68,000 men and 27,000 women) die from alcohol-related causes annually.
Short-term health risks for excessive alcohol use:
- Injuries – car crash, falls, drownings, burns
- Violence – homicide, suicide, assault
- Alcohol poisoning – medical emergency
Long-term health risks for excessive alcohol use:
- High blood pressure, heart disease, stroke, liver disease, and digestive problems.
- Cancer of the breast, mouth, throat, esophagus, liver, and colon.
- Weakening of the immune system, increasing the chances of getting sick.
- Learning and memory problems, including dementia and poor school performance.
- Mental health problems, including depression and anxiety.
- Social problems, including lost productivity, family problems, and unemployment.
- Alcohol use disorders, or alcohol dependence.
- Alcohol causes the pancreas to produce toxic substances that can eventually lead to pancreatitis, a dangerous inflammation and swelling of the blood vessels in the pancreas that prevents proper digestion.
Problem drinking that becomes severe is given the medical diagnosis of “alcohol use disorder” or AUD. AUD is a chronic relapsing brain disorder characterized by an impaired ability to stop or control alcohol use despite adverse social, occupational, or health consequences. An estimated 15 million people in the United States have AUD.
Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders (FASD) - Effects from women drinking alcohol while pregnant
- Prenatal alcohol exposure is a leading preventable cause of birth defects and neurodevelopmental deficits in the United States.
- It can cause a range of intellectual and behavioral problems, which appear at any time during childhood and last a lifetime.
- Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders is an umbrella term for a range of physical, cognitive, and behavioral disorders caused by prenatal alcohol exposure.
- Recent prevalence studies estimate that approximately 1 to 5 percent of U.S. first-grade children have FASD.
- FASD are 100% preventable if a developing fetus is not exposed to alcohol.
The coronavirus causing the 2019-2021 global pandemic is called Coronavirus SARS-CoV-2, and the disease is called COVID-19.
As of 2020, the US has authorized the use of two COVID-19 vaccines - one from Pfizer-BioNTech and the other from Moderna.
In the US, as of 2020, there have been over 18 million COVID-19 cases reported to the CDC, and over 320,000 deaths.
Symptoms of COVID-19:
- Fever or chills
- Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
- Muscle or body aches
- New loss of taste or smell
- Sore throat
- Congestion or runny nose
- Nausea or vomiting
The risk for severe illness with COVID-19 increases with age, with older adults at highest risk.
For example, people in their 50s are at higher risk for severe illness than people in their 40s. Similarly, people in their 60s or 70s are, in general, at higher risk for severe illness than people in their 50s. The greatest risk for severe illness from COVID-19 is among those aged 85 or older.
The following medical conditions are at increase risk for severe illness from coronavirus (2020):
- Chronic kidney disease
- COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease)
- Heart conditions, such as heart failure, coronary artery disease, or cardiomyopathies
- Immunocompromised state (weakened immune system) from solid organ transplant
- Sickle cell disease
- Type 2 diabetes mellitus