Health Promoting Behaviors and Parsnips

Categories: Healthy Eating, Healthy Places, Well Nourished

By: Stefani Stough, Keene State College Dietetic Intern

Health promotion is defined by the World Health Organization as the process of enabling people to increase control over their health and its determinants, and thereby improve their health.  Modern medicine has started focusing on disease prevention instead of just disease management. Once someone has contracted a disease there may be many side effects, medication lifestyle changes, etc.  It can make it feel hard to live a full and healthy life while managing these side effects.  Health promoting behaviors incorporate but are not limited to regular exercise, not smoking tobacco products and not consuming more than two drinks a day for men under 65 years old and no more than one drink a day for women and men over 65 years old.

Research studies show healthy behaviors are the accumulation of all the behaviors an individual follows or believes in, with the aim of promoting health and preventing disease. A healthy lifestyle is defined as controlling all behaviors that might affect an individual’s health and arranging his/her daily activities by choosing appropriate behaviors according to his/her own health state. In many studies from different countries, it has been established that at least 50% of deaths per year are related to unhealthy lifestyle behaviors.

Two important organizations that are big advocates to the health promotion movement are the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and National Institutes of Health (NIH). These agencies provide information to the public about diseases and health promoting behaviors such as exercise and nutrition. They conduct research into the latest preventative strategies to provide time to the public.

A great way is to get excited about incorporating healthy foods is eating in season! Late fall and early winter roots vegetables such as parsnips are a great choice!


Growing and Harvest

Parsnips are considered a winter root vegetable they are closely related to carrots and parsley.  The tuberous root vegetable is cream colored skin. It matures in the ground and because its flavor is not fully developed until the roots have been exposed to near-freezing temperatures for 2 to 4 weeks in the fall and early winter. The starch in the parsnip root changes into sugar, resulting in a strong, sweet, unique flavor. The root should be well-developed after being in the ground for around four months. Many gardeners leave parsnips in the ground over the winter and harvest in the spring.


Nutrition Benefits

Parsnips have a number of nutritional benefits including being a good source of Vitamin C, folate, and fiber.



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