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CDC offers tips to score a healthy Super Bowl party

Robin Wulffson MD's picture
Super Bowl 2013, food-borne illness, salmonella, alcohol

Many Americans will tune in to the Super Bowl this weekend and parties are in abundance throughout the US. Unfortunately, it is often an opportunity to drink too much and eat a ton of junk food and chug down too many beers. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is offering tips on how to enjoy the day and score a healthy lifestyle.

Offer healthy snacks: Instead of chips and calorie-laden dips put out some fresh fruits and vegetables, such as apple halves or carrot sticks. There should be a variety in season. Select low calorie, low-fat—or better yet—fat-free dips. Offer foods and beverages low in fat, calories, sugars, salt, and sodium. Have selections on hand for guests with diabetes or on special diets.

Practice food safety: Wash your hands before you prepare foods. Avoid contact of raw meats with vegetables. Rinse your vegetables thoroughly even if they are purported to be pre-cleaned. Cook meats thoroughly and do not allow them to sit out for any extended period. Bacteria can multiply and cause food-borne illnesses in a matter of hours. On January 29, the CDC released a new report on food-borne illnesses. The report noted that produce foods, a category that includes vegetables, fruits, and nuts, causes 4.4 million illnesses each year. That represents a higher number than the 2.1 million illnesses caused by contaminated beef, pork, poultry, and other meat; however, the pathogens found on meat are generally more deadly than those found on vegetables. The worst offender is contaminated poultry; it accounts for 19% of food-related deaths.

Moderate alcohol consumption: Alcoholic beverages are a common accompaniment of bowl parties. If a guest appears to be overindulging, offer him or her a sandwich or other food to interrupt the consumption. Do not allow a guest to leave the party who has overindulged. If you are attending a party elsewhere and plan to drink, line up a designated driver.

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Get some exercise: Beyond an occasional stand-up cheer for your team, football watching is a sedentary activity. Dance along with the music during half time or put on your own half-time show. Toss a football during commercial breaks. Beyond the Super Bowl, it is possible to fit in some exercise with your TV watching. Lift hand weights, stretch, or use a stationary bicycle or treadmill while watching television.

Cold weather precautions: If it's going to be cold, take these steps to stay warm on game day.
If you are tailgating or celebrating outdoors, dress warmly and wear loose-fitting, layered clothes. Wear outer garments that are tightly woven and water-repellent. Drink warm liquids that do not contain caffeine or alcohol. Alcoholic drinks cause your body to lose heat more quickly.
Keep heat sources at least three feet away from furniture and drapes.

Enjoy the game!

Reference: CDC

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