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Public Health


Nutrition is the process of providing or obtaining the food necessary for health and growth. It is generally characterized into two groups; macronutrients and micronutrients.


Micronutrients are minerals and vitamins. Vitamins are another form of energy production and help with immune function, brain development and many other processes that help the body. Minerals help with growth and bone health.

Drinking Water

Drinking enough water every day is good for overall health. It helps with body weight and reducing caloric intake. Drinking water also avoids dehydration, a condition that can lead to other health issues.

Fruits and Vegetables

There are many health benefits from eating fruits and vegetables. Americans currently are not consuming enough fresh produce in their daily diet. Poor diet leads to low quality of life along with death and disability. Maintaining a diet rich in fresh produce can help protect against a number of serious and costly chronic diseases like heart disease, Type 2 diabetes, some cancers and obesity. Fruits and vegetables also provide important vitamins and minerals that help the human body work as it should and fight off illness and disease. As part of a healthy food environment, produce needs to be accessible and affordable in the places where children and families spend time.

Added Sugars

Sweeteners and syrups are added to foods or beverages when they are processed or prepared. Naturally occurring sugars, such as those found in fruit or milk, are not added sugars. Americans should keep their intake of added sugars to less than 10% of their total daily calories as part of a healthy diet. For example, in a 2,000-daily-calorie diet, no more than 200 calories should come from added sugars.

The leading sources of added sugars in the U.S. diet are sugar-sweetened beverages, grain-based desserts like cakes, cookies, candy and dairy desserts like ice cream. Reducing the number of sugary drinks and sugary foods each day and replacing these with plain water and fruit is a good way to reduce the intake of added sugars.

For more information on healthy eating, visit Get Fresh!

Quick Facts About Nutrition
  • About 41 million children under the age of 5 are overweight
  • Eating vegetables will help improve your health
  • Unprocessed food is the healthiest
  • Oklahoma has the fourth highest obesity rate in the United States.
    • Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, Division of Population Health. BRFSS Prevalence & Trends Data. 2019.
  • Less than 7% of Oklahomans meet the daily vegetable or fruit intake recommendation.
    • Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Division of Nutrition, Physical Activity, and Obesity, National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion. Oklahoma Action Guide on Fruits and Vegetables. 2018.
  • Almost 72% of the Chickasaw Nation Department of Health (CNDH) population is overweight or obese.  
    • Chickasaw Nation RPMS
Nutrition During a Pandemic

Nutritious Meal Preparation for the Mind and Body

It may be difficult to access nutritious groceries and fresh fruits and vegetables from the grocery store when you have to distance yourself from others, especially if you are at a higher risk of getting sick from the virus. Here are a few tips and tricks to prioritize your health during the pandemic:

  • Eating nourishing meals rich in fruit and vegetables, lean protein and whole grains will keep the health of your body and mind in-check.
  • Food and drinks high in sugar, caffeine and alcohol may increase your level of anxiety. Avoid these foods if possible.
  • While some daily routines have been interrupted due to the pandemic, it is important to try to eat meals around the same time each day. This can ease anxiety and help stay grounded to a routine.
  • If you are living with other people, it is a good idea to eat at least one meal together per day. Eating with others can help decrease feelings of isolation and loneliness.

Safe Shopping at Grocery Stores

While some individuals have chosen to utilize services provided by grocery stores like order pickup, others prefer going into the store to shop for the specific items they need. It is possible to stay safe while shopping in-person. The key is to plan your shopping list ahead of time and limit your exposure to the virus as much as possible.

Follow these tips when grocery shopping to get what you need in a safe and efficient manner:

  • Always plan ahead and buy enough grocery items to last for one or two weeks to limit frequent trips to the grocery store.
  • Some healthy foods have a longer shelf-life than others. Include items such as carrots, potatoes, onions, squash, cabbage, apples, melons, oranges, as well as frozen fruits and vegetables on your next shopping list.
  • Try to touch only the items you plan to purchase.
  • Limit exposure to the virus by only sending one member of your household to do the shopping.
  • Do not forget to wear a mask and sanitize your hands and shopping cart!

For more information on how to improve your family’s nutrition, visit the Impa' Kilimpi' Nutrition Program service page.

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