Sun, Jan 22, 2012 - Page 1 News List

Have a happy, healthy New Year: DOH

FESTIVAL FITNESS:The ‘three don’ts’ guidelines warn against excesses ranging from cleaning to binge eating and drinking, to make the New Year a happy family event

By Lee I-chia  /  Staff Reporter

A group of people enjoy a sumptuous meal in Greater Taichung on Friday. Nutritionists warn the public to maintain a balanced diet throughout the holiday season and not to over-eat.

Photo: Hsieh Fong-chiu, Taipei Times

As many begin enjoying the nine-day Lunar New Year holiday, which started yesterday, the Department of Health’s (DOH) Bureau of Health suggested “three don’ts” to the public in an effort to ensure that revelers enjoy a healthy holiday.

The “three don’ts” of the bureau’s guidelines are: “Don’t tire yourself out from holiday cleaning or celebratory sprees, don’t binge and don’t do anything that would provoke dramatic mood swings.”

With most households maintaining the tradition of spring cleaning before the holiday, the bureau reminded the public to pay attention to their health while engaging in cleaning activities.

The bureau warned people with chronic vascular diseases against lifting heavy objects and to make sure they get plenty of rest when doing cleaning chores.

Also, as many enjoy getting together with family members and friends during the holidays to play mahjong or video games, the bureau advised against sitting for extended periods without getting up and moving around.

It also warned against engaging in activities that could provoke dramatic mood swings — such as becoming too immersed in video games — to prevent high blood pressure, angina or strokes.

Ingestion of excessive amounts of salt (sodium) is one of the main factors behind a rise in blood pressure, the bureau added, saying that people should minimize the use of salt in their cooking over the holiday period, regardless of whether they suffer from high blood pressure.

The Department of Health, meanwhile, recommended an adult daily maximum intake of no more than 2,400 milligrams of sodium.

Vinegar or acidity from fresh fruits such as lemons, apples, pineapples or tomatoes can be used to add flavor to meals and replace salt, it said, adding that people should also pay attention to how much sodium is contained in food products when shopping for ingredients for holiday meals.

In addition to its “three don’ts” guidelines, the bureau said no one should neglect the importance of keeping warm during the holidays, especially if the temperature plunges, and family members should pay particular attention to seniors’ health because they are usually particularly susceptible to the effects of cold weather.

Because the Lunar New Year holiday this year is longer than in previous years, the bureau said people should pay more attention to their health and take time to exercise.

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