New Mexico Department of Health
Our mission is to promote health and wellness, improve health outcomes, and assure safety net services for all people in New Mexico.
Paul Rhien
505-470-2290 Office

Department of Health Recognizes National Nutrition Month


Healthy eating and physical activity help prevent obesity

National Nutrition Month® is a nutrition education and information campaign created annually in March by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. The campaign focuses on the importance of making informed food choices and developing sound eating and physical activity habits.The New Mexico Department of Health (NMDOH) recognizes March as National Nutrition Month and reminds New Mexicans that healthy eating and physical activity are the two major lifestyle behaviors that can help prevent obesity. 

Every year, NMDOH collects Body Mass Index (BMI) data from elementary students across the state to track childhood obesity over time, identify at-risk groups, and guide state and local prevention efforts. Obesity prevalence among third graders has decreased 12% since monitoring began in 2010, while the rate for kindergarten students has seen a 5% increase over the same period. In 2017, more than one-in-four (27.9%) kindergarten students and one-in-three (34.2%) third grade students were overweight or obese.

“These data highlight the continuing need for increasing healthy lifestyles among pre-school and early elementary school-age children and their families,” said Lynn Gallagher, NMDOH Cabinet Secretary. “There is more work to be done, but it is promising that we have the tools and the strategies for improving the health of New Mexico’s children and for helping prevent chronic disease in adulthood."

Governor Martinez and the New Mexico Department of Health have prioritized increasing opportunities for physical activity and healthy eating for New Mexico children through its Healthy Kids Healthy Communities (HKHC ) Program.  HKHC  has been a key NMDOH program for helping children and families eat well and move more. The program works with public elementary schools across New Mexico to improve the school nutrition and physical activity environments including:

HKHC builds state and local partnerships to expand children’s and low-income adults’ opportunities for healthy eating and physical activity where they live, learn, play, work, eat, and shop. The program focuses on creating community coalitions to drive sustainable environmental, policy, and systems changes to support these behaviors.

During the 2016-17 school year, Healthy Kids Healthy Communities served:

HKHC implements best and promising practices from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to improve school nutrition and physical activity environments; increase access to a healthy and affordable food supply, especially in rural and frontier areas; and enhance community walkability and bikability.

Please see the Childhood Obesity Update 2017 and the Healthy Kids Healthy Communities (2016-2017) to learn more.


Media Contact

We would be happy to provide additional information about this press release. Simply contact Paul Rhien at 505-470-2290 (Office) with your questions.


Versión en Español

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El Departamento de Salud Reconoce el Mes Nacional de Nutrición