Celebrate National Nutrition Month: nutrition facts, label programs

With March being National Nutrition Month, Maria Perno Goldie, RDH, MS, provides several resources to help you understand the importance of nutrition and make informed food choice choices that contribute to a healthy diet.

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March is National Nutrition Month! There are numerous resources available for your perusal, including Nutrition Facts, Label Programs, and other materials.

Resources for Using & Promoting this Easy Health Tool
FDA’s Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition (CFSAN) has a wealth of educational materials that make it easy to understand and use the Nutrition Facts Label. Consumers, educators, teachers, dietitians, and health professionals are invited to check out the many campaigns and printables available below.

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Understanding & Using the Nutrition Facts Label
The Nutrition Facts Label is an easy tool for making quick, informed food choices that contribute to a healthy diet. FDA offers a variety of resources for understanding and using the Nutrition Facts Label.

• Eating Healthier & Feeling Better Using the Nutrition Facts Label(1)
• How to Understand & Use the Nutrition Facts Label(2)
• Key to Choosing Healthful Foods Using the Nutrition Facts Label(3)
• Trans Fat Now Listed With Saturated Fat & Cholesterol(4)
• Talking About Trans Fat: What You Need to Know(5)
• Nutrition Facts Label Images for Download(6)

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There are also videos available.

• The Food Label & You(7)
• Eat for a Healthy Heart(8)
• Read the Label!(9)

Sodium: Look at the Label(10)
También disponible en Español (Spanish)(11)

Over 75% of the sodium you eat comes from packaged and restaurant foods. The Nutrition Facts Label on food and beverage packages is a useful tool for making healthful dietary choices. FDA offers informative education materials that provide practical tips for using the label to reduce sodium in your diet.

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Make Your Calories Count Campaign
Make Your Calories Count is an interactive learning program that provides consumers with information to help plan a healthful diet while managing calorie intake. The exercises will help consumers use the food label to make decisions about which food choice is right for them.

• Make Your Calories Count(12)
• Questions & Answers on Make Your Calories Count(13)

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Spot the Block Campaign(14)
Spot the Block is the award-winning outreach campaign that challenges tweens (ages 9 to 13) to use the Nutrition Facts Label (the "block") to make healthy food choices. With engaging content, parent information, and grassroots outreach, kids and families across the United States can Spot the Block today—and every day!

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Nutrition for Older Adults
Good nutrition can help older adults feel their best and stay strong. It can also help reduce the risk of and/or manage the symptoms of some diseases that are common among older adults.

• Using the Nutrition Facts Label: A How-To Guide for Older Adults(15)

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Nutrients & Food
Understanding nutrients in foods can help consumers use the Nutrition Facts Label more effectively, and enable them to make choices that best suit their own health needs. Resources for becoming familiar with nutrients and their role in a healthy diet can be found here.

• 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans(16)
• Nutrition Information for Raw Fruits, Vegetables & Fish(17)
• Kids 'n Fiber — Video(18)

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References
1. http://www.fda.gov/Food/ResourcesForYou/Consumers/ucm266853.htm.
2. http://www.fda.gov/Food/ResourcesForYou/Consumers/NFLPM/ucm274593.htm.
3. http://www.fda.gov/Food/ResourcesForYou/Consumers/ucm079449.htm.
4. http://www.fda.gov/Food/ResourcesForYou/Consumers/NFLPM/ucm274590.htm.
5. http://www.fda.gov/Food/ResourcesForYou/Consumers/ucm079609.htm.
6. http://www.fda.gov/Food/LabelingNutrition/PrintInformationMaterials/ucm114155.htm.
7. http://www.fda.gov/Food/ResourcesForYou/Consumers/NFLPM/ucm275409.htm.
8. http://www.fda.gov/ForConsumers/ConsumerUpdates/ucm199058.htm.
9. http://www.fda.gov/Food/ResourcesForYou/Consumers/ucm079449.htm#video.
10. http://www.fda.gov/Food/ResourcesForYou/Consumers/NFLPM/ucm315355.htm.
11. http://www.fda.gov/Food/ResourcesForYou/Consumers/NFLPM/ucm317028.htm.
12. http://www.fda.gov/Food/ResourcesForYou/Consumers/NFLPM/ucm275438.htm.
13. http://www.fda.gov/Food/ResourcesForYou/Consumers/NFLPM/ucm275437.htm.
14. http://www.fda.gov/Food/ResourcesForYou/Consumers/NFLPM/ucm281746.htm.
15. http://www.fda.gov/Food/ResourcesForYou/Consumers/ucm267499.htm.
16. http://www.health.gov/dietaryguidelines/2010.asp.
17. http://www.fda.gov/Food/LabelingNutrition/FoodLabelingGuidanceRegulatoryInformation/InformationforRestaurantsRetailEstablishments/ucm063367.htm.
18. http://www.fda.gov/ForConsumers/ConsumerUpdates/ucm270899.htm.

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Maria Perno Goldie, RDH, MS

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