For adults wanting to make a fresh start with better nutrition, getting started can be the hardest part.
“It can be especially overwhelming for older adults,” says registered dietician Sue Picus. “What’s in the grocery store today is very different from 30 years ago. Some of the biggest challenges people have are navigating all of the choices available and figuring out how to eat healthy on a budget.”
Sue is doing her part to clear up some of the confusion by serving as a peer leader for Healthy Habits for Adults, a free program designed to help older adults adopt a healthy lifestyle around eating well and staying physically active. With support from Anthem Foundation, Oasis aims to reach more than 3,750 adults over the age of 50.
Classes packed with nutrition facts and tips
Participants can choose from 10 different classes which include information on low-impact exercise, recipe ideas, a healthy snack and nutrition lessons. Based on concepts from MyPlate for Older Adults, developed by Tufts University, Healthy Habits for Adults classes are packed with facts that take the guesswork out of making lasting lifestyle changes:
- Did you know that 80% of adults do not consume enough fruits and vegetables? Healthy Habits for Adults participants can learn more about the benefits eating 8-10 servings daily with Eating the Rainbow: Love Your Colorful Fruits and Veggies.
- Most Americans get 2 teaspoons more than the recommended amount of sodium each day. Shake the Salt Habit: Limiting Salt in Your Diet reveals how foods high in salt sneak into our diet and effective ways to reduce them, without sacrificing flavor!
- Our bodies do not need added sugar to function. The differences between natural and added sugars and how to limit daily intake are covered in How Sweet It Is: Limiting Sugar in Your Diet.
- Half of our grains should be whole grains. The Whole Truth About Whole Grains covers which carbohydrates are best to eat.
- The fats we eat have a big impact on our blood cholesterol level. The Skinny on Fat: Reducing Fat in Your Diet is a good way to learn the differences between healthy and unhealthy fats.
- Three cups. That’s how much dairy we should consume every day. Dairy Foods: Calcium and Vitamin D Superstars provides good information on this great source of calcium and protein.
- Foods rich in fiber boost health and keep our digestive systems functioning healthily. Stay Regular: Enjoy the Power of Fiber in Your Diet covers the importance of whole grain, as well as soluble and insoluble fiber.
- Do you eat more than 10 grams of protein at each meal? Protein: The Body’s Own Superman offers an understanding of the role that protein plays in the body, an explanation of paleo diets and more.
- Older adults are at higher risk for dehydration. Fluids: Tips to Stay Hydrated and Make Healthy Beverage Choices is a good way to learn how to avoid this common cause for hospitalization.
- By learning how to read food labels, we can get the most nutrition for our dollar. Eating Healthy on a Budget – teaches skills to help save money at the grocery store and eat healthy on a budget.
Preventing and managing chronic conditions
Good nutrition and regular exercise are important tools to manage or prevent chronic conditions such as diabetes, heart disease and arthritis.
According to the National Council on Aging, 80% of older adults have at least one chronic condition, and 77% have at least two. Additionally, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Healthy Aging Data show that only 36% of older adults ages 50 and older eat the daily recommended servings of fruits (2 or more) and only 21% eat the daily recommended servings of vegetables (3 or more).
Thirty-two percent are obese, with a BMI of 30 or above, and 30% participated in no leisure time physical activity the week before. Approximately one in four adults ages 65 years and older has diabetes.
Find out more and get started today
In 2018, Healthy Habits for Adults programs are being implemented by Oasis centers in Los Angeles and San Diego, CA; St. Louis, MO and Indianapolis, IN; and with community health partners in Tucson, AZ and Richmond, VA. Find out more about a program near you.
Participants of Healthy Habits for Adults receive an Oasis Healthy Living Guide for Adults, which provides practical tips to make healthier living easy to understand, such as how to become and stay active at participants’ own pace; tips and tricks for getting fit; easy exercise instructions to increase strength, flexibility, and balance; tips for reading food labels and forming new nutrition habits; and easy-to-follow and nutritious recipes. Download this free resource.
Healthy Habits for Adults is made possible through generous support from Anthem Foundation.