Guidelines for Good Family Health

Eating is one of the life’s greatest pleasures. Since there are many foods and many ways to build a healthy diet and lifestyle, there is lots of room for choice.  Use this blog to help you and your family find ways to enjoy food while taking action for good health.

Sisters drinking milk

This blog post carries three basic messages—the ABCs for your health and that of your family:

  • Aim for fitness.  
  • Build a healthy base.  
  • Choose sensibly.

Aim for fitness 

Aiming for fitness involves two guidelines:


In other words, choose a lifestyle that combines sensible eating with regular physical activity. It’s the key to good health.

To be at their best, adults need to avoid gaining weight, and many need to lose weight. Being overweight or obese increases your risk for high blood pressure, heart disease, stroke, diabetes, certain types of cancer, arthritis, and breathing problems. A healthy weight is a key to a long, healthy life.

Being physically active and maintaining a healthy weight are both needed for fitness, but they benefit health in different ways. Children, teens, adults, elderly—all can improve their health and well-being and have fun by including moderate amounts of physical activity in their daily lives. Physical activity involves moving the body. A moderate physical activity is any activity that requires about as much energy as walking 2 miles in 30 minutes.

Aim to accumulate at least 30 minutes of physical activity daily. If you already get 30 minutes of physical activity daily, you can gain even more health benefits by increasing the amount of time that you are physically active or by taking part in more vigorous activities. No matter what activity you choose, you can do it all at once, or spread it out over two or three times during the day.

Following these two guidelines will help keep you and your family healthy and fit. Healthy eating and regular physical activity enable people of all ages to work productively, enjoy life, and feel their best. They also help children grow, develop, and do well in school.

Build a healthy base   


Different foods contain different nutrients and other healthful substances. No single food can supply all the nutrients in the amounts you need. For example, oranges provide vitamin C and folate but no vitamin B12; cheese provides calcium and vitamin B12 but no vitamin C. To make sure you get all the nutrients and other substances you need for health, build a healthy base by using the Food Guide Pyramid as a starting point. Choose the recommended number of daily servings from each of the five major food groups. If you avoid all foods from any of the five food groups, seek guidance to help ensure that you get all the nutrients you need.

Following these four guidelines builds a base for healthy eating. Let the Food Guide Pyramid guide you so that you get the nutrients your body needs each day. Make grains, fruits, and vegetables the foundation of your meals. This forms a base for good nutrition and good health and may reduce your risk of certain chronic diseases. Be flexible and adventurous—try new choices from these three groups in place of some less nutritious or higher calorie foods you usually eat. Whatever you eat, always take steps to keep your food safe to eat.

Choose sensibly   

These four guidelines help you make sensible choices that promote health and reduce the risk of certain chronic diseases. You can enjoy all foods as part of a healthy diet as long as you don’t overdo on fat (especially saturated fat), sugars, salt, and alcohol. Read labels to identify foods that are high in saturated fats, sugars, and salt (sodium).

Aim, Build, Choose—for Good Health

By following the guidelines in this blog post, you can promote your health and reduce your risk for chronic diseases such as heart disease, certain cancers, diabetes, stroke, and osteoporosis. These diseases are leading causes of death and disability among people. Your food choices, your lifestyle, your environment, and your genes all affect your well-being. If you are at risk for a chronic disease, it is especially important to follow the 10 Dietary Guidelines in this blog. So find out your family history of the disease and your other risk factors for disease to make more informed decisions about how to improve your health.

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