Monday, January 31, 2011

We've Come a Long Way Baby: USDA Announces New Dietary Guidelines

Fantastic news on the new dietary guidelines coming from the USDA today. A reprint of the press release below, with key portions highlighted, tells a great story. For a copy of the 91-page report visit the USDA's Center for Nutrition Policy and Promotion website. For more information, check out a piece I wrote back in 2007, "USDA Policy Contradictions: Apples and Kale vs. High Fructose Corn Syrup" , read what Marion Nestle of Food Politics (blog) has to say and today's coverage by Andrew Martin at The New York Times and reader comments. Yes, we've come a long way baby.

"USDA and HHS Announce New Dietary Guidelines to Help Americans Make
Healthier Food Choices and Confront Obesity Epidemic

WASHINGTON, Jan. 31, 2011 — Agriculture Secretary TomVilsack and Secretary of the
Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Kathleen Sebelius today announced the
release of the 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans, the federal government's evidence-based nutritional guidance to promote health, reduce the risk of chronic diseases, and reduce the prevalence of overweight and obesity through improved nutrition and physical activity.

Because more than one-third of children and more than two-thirds of adults in the United States are overweight or obese,
the 7th edition of Dietary Guidelines for Americans places stronger emphasis on reducing calorie consumption and increasing physical activity.  

“The 2010 Dietary Guidelines are being released at a time when the majority of adults and one in
three children is overweight or obese and this is a crisis that we can no longer ignore,” said
Secretary Vilsack.  “These new and improved dietary recommendations give individuals the
information to make thoughtful choices of healthier foods in the right portions and to
complement those choices with physical activity.  The bottom line is that most Americans need
to trim our waistlines to reduce the risk of developing diet-related chronic disease. Improving our
eating habits is not only good for every individual and family, but also for our country.”

The new 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans focus on balancing calories with physical activity, and encourage Americans to consume more healthy foods like vegetables, fruits, whole grains, fat-free and low-fat dairy products, and seafood, and to consume less sodium, saturated and trans fats, added sugars, and refined grains. 

“Helping Americans incorporate these guidelines into their everyday lives is important to
improving the overall health of the American people,” said HHS Secretary Sebelius. “The new
Dietary Guidelines provide concrete action steps to help people live healthier, more physically
active and longer lives.”

The 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans include 23 Key Recommendations for the general
population and six additional Key Recommendations for specific population groups, such as
women who are pregnant. Key Recommendations are the most important messages within the
Guidelines in terms of their implications for improving public health.  The recommendations are
intended as an integrated set of advice to achieve an overall healthy eating pattern.  To get the
full benefit, all Americans should carry out the Dietary Guidelines recommendations in their

More consumer-friendly advice and tools, including a next generation Food Pyramid, will be
released by USDA and HHS in the coming months. Below is a preview of some of the tips that
will be provided to help consumers translate the Dietary Guidelines into their everyday lives:

• Enjoy your food, but eat less.
• Avoid oversized portions.
• Make half your plate fruits and vegetables.
• Switch to fat-free or low-fat (1%) milk.
• Compare sodium in foods like soup, bread, and frozen meals – and choose the foods with lower numbers.
• Drink water instead of sugary drinks.

This edition of the Dietary Guidelines comes at a critical juncture for America’s health and
prosperity.   By adopting the recommendations in the Dietary Guidelines, Americans can live
healthier lives and contribute to a lowering of health-care costs, helping to strengthen America’s
long-term economic competitiveness and overall productivity.

USDA and HHS have conducted this latest review of the scientific literature, and have developed
and issued the 7th edition of the Dietary Guidelines for Americans in a joint effort that is
mandated by Congress. The Guidelines form the basis of nutrition education programs, Federal
nutrition assistance programs such as school meals programs and Meals on Wheels programs for
seniors, and dietary advice provided by health professionals. 

The Dietary Guidelines, based on the most sound scientific information, provide authoritative
advice for people 2 years and older about how proper dietary habits can promote health and
reduce risk for major chronic diseases. 

The Dietary Guidelines aid policymakers in designing and implementing nutrition-related
programs. They also provide education and health professionals, such as nutritionists, dietitians,
and health educators with a compilation of the latest science-based recommendations. A table
with key consumer behaviors and potential strategies for professionals to use in implementing
the Dietary Guidelines is included in the appendix. 

The 2010 Dietary Guidelines is available here
For more information on dietary guidelines, see  and

USDA Office of Communications
(202) 720-4623
HHS Press Office
(202) 690-6343 


1 comment:

lorna vanderhaeghe said...

Thanks for sharing that announcement. New facts and guidelines about our nutrition can definitely help improve our lifestyle.