Georgia Physician Assistants Join the Fight Against Obesity in Georgia

An apple a day can keep the physician assistant away… by ultimately keeping a whole host of scary diseases and conditions at bay.

While apples are just a small picture of the many fruits, vegetables, grains and lean meats that make up a healthy diet, members of the Georgia Association of Physician Assistants are seeking to spread the knowledge of the importance of healthy eating to all state residents, particularly citizens making up our future generations.

“In 2005, approximately 10 percent of all deaths in Georgia were related to obesity-related diseases,” explained Lori Gaylor, PA-C. Gaylor is the GAPA president. “Around one in three middle school students are at risk for being overweight, and one in four high school students are at risk. Georgia routinely finds itself among the top most obese states in the nation in annual reports.”

Gaylor explained that part of the solution to obesity-related illnesses and conditions is to eat a nutritious and varied diet. “It’s a lot easier than some people realize,” she said. “By making better choices, sneaky swaps and downsizing on portions, calorie intake can be cut significantly yet safely. You won’t feel deprived. It’s a true healthy lifestyle change.”

There are five things you can do today for a healthier dish:

Eat colorfully.
“It’s no secret that a colorful diet is usually a healthier one,” Gaylor said. “Blueberries, green broccoli, red bell pepper, pink salmon, purple eggplant, red cherries – these foods are full of nutrients and antioxidants.” Meanwhile, Gaylor explained how the sign of an unhealthy diet can be an overload of “beige” – French fries, hamburger buns, pizza crust, and anything fried.

Try different cooking techniques.
Instead of frying chicken, try breading skinless chicken breast and baking it in the oven. “A cooking technique such as baking or roasting can decrease caloric content while enhancing flavor,” she stated.

Measure portion sizes.
“Americans underestimate their daily caloric intake by as much as 25 percent daily,” Gaylor warned. “While every so often this doesn’t make a huge impact, over time those extra numbers add up… around your waist.” Gaylor suggests to take one day to measure your foods, so that you will be able to better eyeball portion sizes in the future.

Turn off the television.
“Studies have repeatedly shown that we eat mindlessly when distracted, which can add up to extra food intake that we don’t really need,” Gaylor said. Instead, she suggests to turn off any distractions, and to chew your food slowly. When you finish your plate, check in with your body and assess whether you are truly still hungry and would like more, or if you’re fully satisfied.

Have another glass of water.
Our bodies are around 75 percent water. “A lot of times, dehydration is confused for mild hunger,” said Gaylor. If you’re properly hydrated, you’ll be more in tune with your body’s nutritional needs.

“It really is a lifestyle change”, Gaylor reiterated. “In Georgia, we love our traditional Southern foods – anything with gravy or cheese and deep-fried! It’s important for people to know that they’re not giving up their favorite foods – they’re simply making smarter everyday decisions that can add up to big health benefits down the road.”

It is the mission of the Georgia Association of Physician Assistants to promote high quality, cost-effective, accessible health care as part of a physician-directed PA/physician team in Georgia. To learn more health tips or how PAs make health care more affordable and accessible in Georgia, please visit www.GAPA.net and click on “Patients.”

For more information, contact:
Carly Sharec, Communications Coordinator
O’Neill Communications
(direct) 678-384-7840, or (main) 770-578-9765
carly@oneillcommunications.com

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