When Lethia Lee showed pictures of fast food from the 1950s to a room of caregivers, it raised a lot of eyebrows. Compared to 2016, a burger was a lot smaller and the carton of fries to go with it was 2.4 ounces and 210 calories.
Today, that same carton is 5.4 ounces and 500 calories.
“It looks good and we want to eat it. But should we?” It’s a question Lee hopes many people will think twice about.
Lee, an assistant from the Expanded Food and Nutrition Education Program, shared simple ways to make rethink portion size during “Change 4 Life.” The recent workshop was presented by the Family Caregiver Support Program of the Sampson County Department of Aging, Home Health & Hospice Care Inc. and Lee of the Sampson County Extension Office.
During the session, she described a portion as the actual amount served and the actual serving size set by government regulations. Many listened as she described how the palm of a hand can be used as a measure for the right size and not eating too much.
“That is the way we gain all of this weight and come up with these health problems,” Lee said.
Lee said many people ignore the nutrition label and double portions, which leads to more calories.
She also discussed other topics related to healthier lifestyles. One of them included physical activity.
“You don’t have to do a lot of physical activity for it to be effective, but you do have to exercise,” Lee said while going over benefits such as weight loss, preventing diseases and improving self-esteem.
But sometimes, people make excuses not to exercise such as not having the time or the additional cost. Lee said it should be a priority to be active.
“The road is free,” Lee said. “You don’t have to pay a dime to walk on the road.”
Blondie Knelsen traveled from Goldsboro to attend the event at the Sampson County Agri Exposition Center in Clinton. Like Lee, she’s aware of the temptations and the consequences coming from fast food restaurants and other stores.
“We just need to keep our focus on what’s good for us and what’s healthy,” Knelsen said.
The caregiver looks after her 80-year-old mother-in-law and health is a major topic in her home. She also talks about it in her church and throughout the community. She enjoyed the practical way of measuring portions.
“That is wonderful because I’ve been trying to teach people about it,” she said. “Just the little things here and there, hit right on the nose. It was simple and formative.”
The Family Caregiver Support program began locally in 2004 when the federal government recognized that family caregivers needed extra help. Through the program, department officials are able to have a lot of workshops.
Lesia Henderson, Family Caregiver Support specialist for the Sampson County Department of Aging, said such programs help caregivers improve.
“It’s supporting the caregiver, encouraging the caregiver and helping that caregiver meet with resources that will help them become a better caregiver,” Henderson said. “We always open these to the public.”
Henderson said she likes to target caregivers who work with Alzheimer’s patients, holding several workshops for the progressive disease which destroys memory and other important functions.
“It’s a good program and it’s strong here in Sampson County,” Henderson said.
Reach Chase Jordan at 910-249-4617. Follow us on Twitter at @SampsonInd and like us on Facebook.