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NCHPAD - Building Healthy Inclusive Communities

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Approaches for a healthy lifestyle


The 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans outlines general recommendations to help people make overall healthy diet choices. The dietary guidelines emphasize these three action steps:

  1. Balance calories by avoiding oversized portions and eating the food you enjoy, just less of it.
  2. Increase the amount of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains consumed, and switch to fat-free or low-fat milk.
  3. Reduce the amount of sodium in your diet and drink water instead of sugary drinks.

The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) created tools to help American’s implement the dietary guidelines. Find these tools at ChooseMyPlate.gov.

Dietary Supplements:
People with Down syndrome generally do not require vitamin supplementation. There are some situations that may put them at risk for nutrient deficiencies, such as congenital heart defects, thyroid disease, and celiac disease. Research suggests people with Down syndrome may also benefit from extra zinc and selenium. Check with your physician before starting a supplement regimen.

Activities in the Kitchen:
It is important that children and adults with Down syndrome have an active role in their diet and overall health. Here are some fun ways to get involved:

Play Nutrition Games

  • The food group game: label five envelopes with the different food groups (Fruits, vegetables, grains, protein foods, and dairy). You could also create another envelope and label it as “junk food.” Then cut out a whole bunch of different photos of foods and drinks from magazines and place them in a large pile. The goal of this game is to put as many photos as you can in the correct food group envelopes.

Get Involved

  • Everyone in the household should have a part in menu planning. Have each person offer suggestions of what they would like to eat during the week and help them turn their ideas into something healthy.
  • Assign different tasks in the kitchen such as gathering ingredients for the recipe, helping prepare the food, setting the table, or washing dishes.

Increasing Physical Activity:

  • Park farther away from the store.
  • Play 'tag' for a few minutes in the park.
  • Walk more, drive less.
  • Dance - 10 minutes of dancing burns 55 calories.
  • Sign up for an exercise class with your friends.
  • Rake leaves - 10 minutes of raking burns 40 calories.
  • Take the stairs instead of the elevator.
  • For 1 hour of TV watching, walk once around the block.
  • Exercise using NCHPAD workout videos.

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