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U.S. Serves Up New Nutrition Guidelines on 'MyPlate'
Date:6/2/2011

, said that "dietary health has never been more important," especially given the nation's obesity epidemic. According to federal estimates, about two-thirds of U.S. adults and up to one-third of children are overweight or obese. All that added weight leaves them at risk for a variety of health problems, including diabetes, high blood pressure and heart disease.

Post believes Americans are looking for simple and clear directions about what to eat. "There is a need to provide a simpler approach to empower consumers in knowing about healthier choices," he said.

"It's really time to shake things up and motivate all sectors of society to promote strategies and actions that we think will empower families and children to change how much and what they eat," he said.

One nutritionist said it's about time the Pyramid moved aside for something simpler.

"Replacing the Food Pyramid with a Food Plate icon, otherwise known as the Plate Method of nutrition education, is an encouraging step," said Miriam Pappo, director of the department of clinical nutrition at Montefiore Medical Center in New York City.

"The Food Pyramid, especially the newer vertical pyramid, was confusing at best. The plate is a universally used utensil. Dividing the plate into four compartments, along with a cup of milk/yogurt, conveys a visual display of both portion size and quantity of foods needed in a healthy diet. The plate's universality is easy for all to understand and the message is made easy to remember," she said.

The USDA's Post added that the federal government intends to actively promote MyPlate over the next several years. "We hope this will lead to the behavior changes, which is really what we need," he said.

More information

To learn more about the new initiative, visit Choose My Plate.gov.

SOURCES: Robert C. Post, Ph.D., deputy director, Center for
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