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DHSS Press Release

Rita Landgraf, Secretary
Jill Fredel, Director of Communications
302-255-9047, Pager 302-357-7498
Email: jill.fredel@delaware.gov

Date: April 9, 2014


DOVER, DE (April 10, 2014) - The average American eats 15 more pounds of sugar a year than in 1970, and 56 percent more fats and oils, the American Public Health Association reports. Individuals who are obese or overweight are at greater risk for diabetes, cancers, stroke, and heart disease and a host of additional health concerns. Nearly two-thirds of all Delaware adults are either obese or overweight, and approximately 37 percent of all Delaware children have an unhealthy weight, according to the Delaware Division of Public Health (DPH).

By eating wisely, Delawareans can protect themselves against certain cancers, diabetes, heart disease, obesity and overweight. Reading food and menu labels and monitoring portion sizes are steps in the right direction. National Public Health Week is April 7-13, 2014.

"Reading food labels on packaged foods tells us the calories, saturated fat, cholesterol, sodium and fiber content," said Dr. Karyl T. Rattay, DPH director. "The Affordable Care Act's new food labeling requirement requires restaurants to list the calories in each standard menu item and put the caloric content in context."

Since most adults need only 2,000 calories daily, they may think twice about purchasing a 1,000-calorie entree or a 400-calorie beverage. A "Re-think Your Drink" section on the Delaware Coalition for Healthy Eating and Active Living (DE HEAL) website (www.deheal.org) suggests alternatives to sugary beverages.

Between 1978 and 1995, Americans' away-from-home calorie intake increased from 18 percent to 34 percent, and their fat intake jumped from 19 percent to 38 percent, according to Nemours Health and Prevention Services. Delawareans should follow the 5-2-1 Almost None campaign: eat 5 or more fruits and vegetables each day, have no more than 2 hours of recreational screen time each day (includes TV, computer, gaming), get 1 or more hours of physical activity each day, and drink almost no sugary beverages.

Oversized portions lead to over-eating. Take the "Portion Distortion" quiz at the U.S. Department of Agriculture's www.choosemyplate.gov website. The site also includes explanations of the Nutrition Facts Label on packaged grocery items.

For more information about National Public Health Week, visit www.nphw.org . For more information about The Dietary Guidelines for Americans, 2010, visit www.Dietaryguidelines.gov . The Department of Health and Human Services, the U.S. Department of Agriculture and other agencies are revising the dietary guidelines for release in 2015.

Delaware Health and Social Services is committed to improving the quality of the lives of Delaware's citizens by promoting health and well-being, fostering self-sufficiency, and protecting vulnerable populations.