New York has the 38th highest rate of adult obesity at 22.4 percent and the 18th highest rate of overweight youths (ages 10-17) at 15.3 percent in the nation, according to a 2007 report by Trust for America’s Health. Our state’s rates are symptomatic of a nationwide epidemic. The USDA, declaring a public health emergency with soaring adult and child obesity rates, released new dietary guidelines for Americans in 2011. These guidelines include recommendations for specific population groups. These are the guidelines for women who are pregnant, breastfeeding, or capable of becoming pregnant.
Women capable of becoming pregnant
Choose foods that supply heme iron, which is more readily absorbed by the body, additional iron sources, and enhancers of iron absorption such as vitamin C-rich foods.
Consume 400 micrograms (mcg) per day of synthetic folic acid (from fortified foods and/or supplements) in addition to food forms of folate from a varied diet.
Women who are pregnant or breastfeeding
Consume 8 to 12 ounces of seafood per week from a variety of seafood types.
Due to their methyl mercury content, limit white (albacore) tuna to 6 ounces per week and do not eat the following four types of fish: tilefish, shark, swordfish, and king mackerel.
If pregnant, take an iron supplement as recommended by an obstetrician or other health care provider.
All younger (pre-menopausal) women
Dr. Ronda Bachenheimer, at the Long Island Chiropractic & Wellness Center in East Meadow, in her document “Vitamins for Vitality” (2011), which cites the new dietary guidelines, emphasizes the needs for exercise and calcium supplementation in younger women. Exercise and taking sufficient daily calcium are both key to forestalling osteoporosis. “The recommended daily requirement for calcium is 1000-1200 mg. So, a vitamin/mineral supplement supplies 500 mg. A cup of yogurt adds another 250 mg. A glass of skim milk or a piece of low-fat cheese adds another 250 mg. Non-dairy sources of calcium include calcium-fortified orange juice, spinach, turnips, and sardines (with the bones). So, dietary sources plus your vitamin/mineral supplements provide close to the recommended dose.”
Eating well starts in the womb. Eating well can be expensive, but pays off in long-term health for both you and your children. If you are pregnant, breastfeeding, or have young children, you may qualify for the Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) program. You can find a local office offering WIC services in New York State at this website.
Click here for the entire USDA document “Dietary Guidelines for Americans” (2010).
Cited guidelines are from p. 34 of Chapter 4: Foods and Nutrients to Increase, Recommendations for Specific Population Groups.
Click here for the Trust for America’s Health 2007 report