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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

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A Healthy Body Weight Reduces Cancer Risk

Everyone should know that obesity is both a national and global problem. Two-thirds of Americans are overweight and one-third are obese. A body mass index (BMI, which is the ratio of one's weight expressed in kilograms to the square of one's height expressed in meters, i.e., kg/m2) of 25 to 29.9 suggests overweight, while BMI values of 30 and above indicates obesity. Worldwide, 2.3 billion people are estimated to be overweight or obese. (more ...)

Take Health to Heart

Heart disease is America's leading killer and people are at increased risk if they are overweight, have high blood pressure, or have a high blood LDL ("bad") cholesterol level. (more ...)

The Question of Sugar

There is a debate raging about the role of sugar in today's diet and its relationship to disease.

There are those who say that sugar is ruining the nation's health, that it is a primary dietary evil leading to obesity and related diseases. Recently, researchers from the University of California-San Francisco claimed that sugar is essentially a toxin that causes all sorts of lifestyle diseases, including hypertension, heart disease, diabetes and even cancer. They proposed that sugar be regulated like tobacco and alcohol with taxes on sugary products, age limits applied to certain foods and beverages, and restrictions on advertising (especially on ads targeted to kids). They also argued that sugar is addictive. (more ...)

Is popcorn a healthy snack? It can be!

Popcorn is relatively high in fiber - a cup of air-popped popcorn contains just over a gram of fiber.  It also contains 1 gram of protein and 6 grams of carbohydrate.  It contains no cholesterol, it is virtually fat-free (only 0.1 g per cup) and contains only 100 to 150 calories in a serving of 5 popped cups.  You can find a nutrient profile for various popcorn snacks at: then click "Start Your Search Here" and enter "snacks, popcorn". (more ...)

MyPlate: Good for Your Bones

Healthy bones are essential for an active life. Bones have many important functions. They provide structure and protect our vital organs. Our muscles attach to them, which enables us to move. (more ...)

Considering Foods Functional

Over the past few years, there has been a surge in public interest in foods that contain natural ingredients with special health benefits. These have come to be called "functional foods". (more ...)

OMG- OMeGa-3s!

You see the word "omega-3" on food labels from walnuts to fish to peanut butter to fish oil pills. What are omega-3s? And what do they do for your health? (more ...)

An Active and Healthy Life

We are designed to be mobile--our survival has depended on it. During thousands of years, we humans became capable of walking great distances. We needed mobility--such as hunting and gathering food--to meet our basic survival needs.. And being mobile served us well--our physical activity was the basis of our readiness. It was the stimulus that kept us healthy so we could be mobile for extended periods and at a moment's notice. (more ...)

Redesigning Activity Back Into Your Life

Physical activity helps keep our muscles, bones, heart, blood vessels and mind healthy. During the last few decades, mechanization and technological advances have reduced the practical need to be active and, as a result, people have become more sedentary. We sit more. (more ...)

The Benefits of Flaxseed

North Dakota is one of the few states in the U.S. that produce flax. Flax is an annual plant, and it is grown both for its fiber and for its seeds. The ancient Egyptians were probably the first to use flax. They used fiber from the plant to make clothes, fishnets and other products, and they used flaxseed or linseed as food and medicine. Historically, flaxseed is primarily used as a laxative, because it is high in fiber and a gummy material called mucilage. These substances expend when they come in contact with water, so they add bulk to stool and help it move more quickly through the body. (more ...)

Water: An Important Part of a Healthy Winter Diet

When was the last time you stopped to think about water? Not that pesky leak in the kitchen sink, or the melting snow the dog tracked in. But drinking water-it's easy to forget about at this time of year, isn't it? (more ...)

Are your sleeping habits affecting your waistline?

We all hear plenty about how diet and lack of physical activity can contribute to obesity, but did you know that the amount of sleep you get each night could be just as important? Controlled studies with human volunteers have shown that lack of adequate sleep decreases leptin, a hormone that makes you feel full, while it has the opposite effect on ghrelin, a hormone the promotes hunger. (more ...)

Last Modified: 8/13/2016
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