More than one-third of children and more than two-thirds of adults in the U.S. are overweight or obese – and that’s the foundation of the latest round of government-issued dietary guidelines. “The bottom line is that most Americans need to trim our waistlines to reduce the risk of developing diet-related chronic disease,” said Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack in releasing the 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans.
The guidelines are reviewed and updated every five years by the USDA and the Dept. of Health and Human Services. Here are a few specifics from this year’s update:
- 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.
Along with additional urgings to lower cholesterol, fat, sugar and refined grains, the government also wants us to eat more whole grains, potassium, fiber, calcium and vitamin D. And we’re all supposed to “balance” calories and physical activity to manage our weight.
To help, the USDA and department of Health and Human Services promise more consumer-friendly advice and tools, plus a next generation Food Pyramid, in the coming months.
For now, you can get additional info at www.dietaryguidelines.gov.