THURSDAY, June 2 (HealthDay News) -- In its latest effort to get Americans to eat healthier meals and fight the obesity epidemic, the federal government has introduced a new nutrition icon called MyPlate.
MyPlate replaces the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Food Pyramid, which was unveiled in 1992 but had become too complicated in ensuing years, many nutritionists contended.
"We are going to continue to have conversations about balanced meals to make this seem fun and simple and not complicated and overburdened," First Lady Michelle Obama said during a Thursday morning press briefing to introduce the MyPlate icon.
"We can do something that makes a difference, something that people can use in their everyday lives," added Obama, who has made combating obesity a priority since becoming First Lady.
The MyPlate logo suggests people eat balanced meals consisting of servings of fruits, vegetables, grains, protein and a small amount of dairy. To help make healthy choices, the USDA is also introducing a website called ChooseMyPlate.gov.
The site is designed to provide consumers with practical information on healthful eating. For example, MyPlate recommends reducing portion size; making at least half of each meal fruits and vegetables; making at least half of grains consumed whole grains, such as whole wheat bread and pasta; and switching to fat-free or low-fat (1 percent) milk.
In addition, the program urges cutting down on salt consumption and drinking water instead of sugary beverages.
The ChooseMyPlate.gov website will also include information for health professionals, nutrition educators and the food industry.
"We are going to build momentum around MyPlate with a long-term strategy that includes working with community and national partners," said Obama.
Robert C. Post, the USDA's deputy director of the Center for Nutrition Policy and Promotion
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