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New Dietary Guidelines for Americans Unveiled

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack and Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Kathleen Sebelius have 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.

The 7th edition of Dietary Guidelines places stronger emphasis on reducing calorie consumption and increasing physical activity than previous editions.

“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,” explains 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 2010 Dietary Guidelines 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 lesssodium, 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,” says Sebelius. “The new Dietary Guidelines provide concrete action steps to help people live healthier, more physically active and longer lives.”

The 2010 Dietary Guidelines includes 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.

More consumer-friendly advice and tools, including a next generation Food Pyramid, will be released by USDA and HHS in the coming months, according to the government. 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 at www.dietaryguidelines.gov

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