Post by Henderson
In a move to more directly combat the growth of obesity and provide average households with a common sense approach to eating a well balanced diet, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) unveiled its newest version of the food pyramid last week called MyPlate.
On June 2, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack, First Lady Michelle Obama, and US Surgeon General Rebecca Benjamin presented the new graphic resulting from the 2010 release of the federal government’s evidence-based nutritional guidance.
The new graphic splits a plate into four sections. Fruits, vegetables, grains, and meat each receive a quarter of the plate, and on the side is small helping of dairy. You’ll notice that desert is conspicuously missing.
The new website, ChooseMyPlate.gov includes tips and resources, from what types of grains to eat, to physical activities, to ideas about a balanced vegetarian diet.
The guide was created to provide simple ways to promote health, reduce occurrences of chronic diseases, and reduce the growing numbers of obesity. It also addresses a general confusion about what types of food constitute a healthy diet and in what daily proportions–a confusion that has existed since the first food pyramid was introduced in 1992.
Mrs. Obama’s speech addressed the oft-mundane practice of measuring proportions.
“Parents don’t have the time to measure out exactly 3 ounces of chicken or to look up how much rice or broccoli is in a serving,” Obama said. “But we do have time to take a look at our kids’ plates,” she said. “We do it all the time. We usually are the ones fixing the plates. And as long as they’re eating proper portions, as long as half of their meal is fruits and vegetables alongside their lean proteins, whole grains and low-fat dairy, then we’re good. It’s as simple as that. That’s how easy this can be for parents.”
A few of the suggestions the website gives are as follow:
- Enjoy your food, but eat less
- Avoid oversized proportions
Foods to increase:
- Make half of your plate fruits and vegetables
- Make at least half of your grains whole grains
- Switch to fat-free or low-fat (1%) milk
Foods to reduce:
- Compare sodium in foods like soup, bread, and frozen meals ― and choose the foods with lower numbers
- Drink water instead of sugary drinks.
Only time will tell whether MyPlate will succeed in decreasing obesity. There are still a number of factors that stand in the way of a healthy diet.
Obesity is defined as a Body Mass Index (BMI) of more than 30. In general, a high BMI puts one at greater risk of cardiovascular disease, certain types of cancer, and type 2 diabetes. Reasons for obesity can range from genetic and metabolic factors to an imbalance in the diet and exercise routine.
If you’re curious about your BMI, use this online calculator.
The government has been keeping its eye on obesity for some time.
The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has tracked obesity trends over the last 20 years and found a dramatic increase in the period between 1985 and 2009.
In 2009 numbers, nine states (Alabama, Arkansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Oklahoma, Tennessee, and West Virginia) had obesity levels equal to or over 30%. In the same period, Colorado and the District of Columbia had less than a 20% occurrence of obesity.