Last month, just as it does each March, the West Virginia WIC Program encouraged the approximate 48,000 women, infants and children receiving WIC foods to return to the basics of healthy eating through National Nutrition Month. Food preferences, lifestyles, cultural and ethnic traditions as well as health concerns all affect our food choices. This year’s theme, “Eat Right, Your Way, Every Day,” emphasized the advantages of developing a healthful eating plan that incorporates individual food choices and preferences.
“There can be a misperception that eating healthfully means giving up your favorite foods,” said registered dietitian and Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics President Ethan A. Bergman. “The ‘Eat Right, Your Way, Every Day’ National Nutrition Month theme encouraged families to include the foods they love as part of a healthful eating plan that is tailored for their lifestyles, traditions, health needs and, of course, tastes.”
The WIC Program strives to communicate healthy eating messages that emphasize a balance of food and beverages within activity needs, rather than any one food or meal. The total diet or overall pattern of food eaten is the most important focus of healthy eating. Most favorite foods can fit within this pattern if eaten in moderation with appropriate portion size and combined with physical activity.
This year marks the 40th anniversary of National Nutrition Month. Initiated in 1973 as a week-long event, National Nutrition Week became a month-long observance in 1980 in response to growing public interest in nutrition. To commemorate the dedication of registered dietitians as the leading advocates for advancing the nutritional status of Americans and people around the world, the second Wednesday of each March is celebrated as Registered Dietitian Day.
“The WIC Program vision of optimizing women’s, infants’ and children’s health outcomes through food and nutrition education is strengthened each March as we celebrate National Nutrition Month. As nutrition professionals we are able to translate sound science-based research into helpful information that people can understand and apply to their everyday lives,” WV WIC Director Denise Ferris said.
For more information about the annual observance of National Nutrition Month, the message of good nutrition based on the “Eat Right, Your Way, Every Day” theme, or the WV WIC Program, contact the WIC office by phone at 304-465-5314, or visit online at http://ons.wvdhhr.org.