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Local hospital celebrates healthy eating
Forest Park Medical Center staff take part in a jump rope contest as part of an event to celebrate healthy living Wednesday. Photo courtesy of Forest Park Medical Center.
Staying healthy involves a number of tasks, and one that often gets overlooked is maintaining a healthy diet. Frisco's Forest Park Medical Center is hoping to change that.
The hospital celebrated the Academy for Nutrition and Dietetics' National Nutrition Month by hosting healthy cooking demonstrations on Wednesday. The day also marked Registered Dietitian Day, giving the event a double purpose. Following the event, attendees also took part in a jump rope contest to promote healthy living.
Krista Ryan, the clinical dietitian at Forest Park Medical Center behind the event, said her profession is about making sure people make healthy choices.
"Because I'm a clinical dietitian, I see patients and individualize their medical nutrition therapy to fit their situations," she said. "So if it's an elderly person with cardiovascular problems, we teach cardiovascular health and wellness, [whereas] with pediatrics I may deal with children who have trouble maintaining a healthy weight or picky eaters who need more variety in their diets."
Ryan said she also recommends her patients stay physically active while improving their diets, which means exercising at least 30 minutes a day.
"Fad diets" are something Ryan recommends her patients avoid, as they focus more on short-term gain than long-term habit changing, as she noted many people gain weight back after completing the diet.
"I try to shy away from fad diets, because typically they restrict certain food groups or restrict something a person may want to keep in their meal regimens at home," she said. "It tends to have a positive effect at the beginning in terms of weight loss, but it's not something you can maintain for the rest of your life."
During the event, the hospital's chef gave healthy cooking tips that showed how to make a healthy meal instead of relying on fast food -- something Ryan said can cause bad habits at young ages.
Specifically, young children and teenagers often have diets that aren't healthy, she said, noting that children often tend to mirror the eating habits of their parents.
"When they don't really pay attention to what they're eating, they may sometimes need extra vitamins and minerals," Ryan said. "To a certain point, they have their parents to look up to, until they're on their own. Parents are the basic foundation for teaching children how to eat healthy for the rest of their lives."
Julie Camp, the chief executive of Forest Park Medical Center Frisco, said the hospital's staff likes helping local residents stay healthy so they can avoid hospital trips.
"We encourage patients to participate in their own health," she said. "There are lots of factors that can shorten people's lives that have to do with bad diets. It's not about looks and vanity, it's about staying healthy -- you only get one body, and a lot of what we see relates to poor diets."
Camp noted that the hospital plans to stay involved in the Frisco community, offering future events residents can attend to learn more about staying healthy.
Forest Park Medical Center Frisco's next event will be a women's health series, which is scheduled to begin in May. For more information about that series, contact Kandace Cortez at email@example.com. For more information on maintaining a healthy diet, visit www.choosemyplate.gov.
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