WASHINGTON -- Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack and Secretary of Health
& Human Services Kathleen Sebelius announced Jan. 31 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.
Because more than one-third of children and more than two-thirds of adults
in the United States are overweight or obese, the seventh edition of Dietary
Guidelines for Americans places stronger emphasis on reducing calorie
consumption and increasing physical activity.
"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," Secretary Vilsack said in a Jan. 31 press
release. "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 new duidelines 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 less sodium, saturated and trans fats, added sugars and refined
"Helping Americans incorporate these guidelines into their everyday lives is
important to improving the overall health of the American people," Secretary
Sebelius said in the release. "The new Dietary Guidelines provide concrete
action steps to help people live healthier, more physically active and longer
The 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans include 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. To get the full benefit, all Americans should carry out the Dietary
Guidelines recommendations in their entirety.
More consumer-friendly advice and tools, including a next-generation Food
Pyramid, will be released by USDA and HHS in the coming months.
This edition of the Dietary Guidelines comes at a critical juncture for
America's health and prosperity. By adopting the recommendations in the
Dietary Guidelines, Americans can live healthier lives and contribute to a
lowering of health-care costs, helping to strengthen America's long-term
economic competitiveness and overall productivity, according to the release.
USDA and HHS have conducted this latest review of the scientific literature,
and have developed and issued the seventh edition of the Dietary Guidelines
for Americans in a joint effort that is mandated by Congress. The guidelines
form the basis of nutrition education programs, federal nutrition assistance
programs such as school meals programs and Meals on Wheels programs for
seniors, and dietary advice provided by health professionals.
The Dietary Guidelines, based on the most sound scientific information,
provide authoritative advice for people 2 years and older about how proper
dietary habits can promote health and reduce risk for major chronic diseases.
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 Florida Fruit & Vegetable Association applauded the new guidelines for
their emphasis on fruits and vegetables.
The association said in a separate press release that "eating more fruits and
vegetables is a simple but important weapon in fighting the obesity epidemic
in this country. Many chronic health problems that afflict Americans today
stem from being overweight and not eating right: heart disease, high blood
pressure, diabetes, cancer and other diseases. Prevention through proper
nutrition is far less costly than treatment after the onset of illness."
It continued, “Florida farmers supply much of the fresh vegetables and fruits
that Americans enjoy. We lead the nation in production of oranges, grapefruit,
tomatoes, sweet corn, snap beans, cucumbers, squash and watermelons.
We're second in production of strawberries, bell peppers and tangerines.
Florida’s grower community is proud to play a role in offering Americans a
bountiful supply of healthful, nutritious produce.”
The Produce Marketing Association said in another press release, “As industry
advocates for the nutritional benefits of our collective products, PMA's
government relations and public affairs team took the message to the U.S.
Department of Health & Human Services and the U.S. Department of
Agriculture, offering comments and testifying before the Dietary Guidelines
Advisory Committee. With a strong emphasis on reducing caloric intake, fruits
and vegetables are at the heart of these guidelines. We are especially pleased
that the new guidelines call for consumers to make half their plates fruits and
vegetables. This is an amazingly powerful image that gives consumers a
concrete idea about what they should do.”
It continued, “We tirelessly advocate that increased produce consumption is a
substantial solution to the obesity epidemic and other public health issues.
Even with the dietary guidelines, there are still more communications, social
science and policy improvements we can affect to make a significant impact
on produce consumption.”
It went on, “In addition to our own government relations and public affairs
efforts, we support the messaging of Fruits & Veggies -- More Matters as a
private-public partnership through the Produce for Better Health Foundation
and the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention. We've joined with the
National Restaurant Association and International Foodservice Distributors
Association to significantly increase fruit and vegetable use in restaurants by
2020. We're working with the National Fruit & Vegetable Alliance to increase
salad bar use in schools. With childhood education expert Scholastic Inc., we
have created a math curriculum that pushes fruit and vegetable consumption
to third and fourth graders. And we offer a variety of tools to members, such
as consumer attitude research and I Know Produce, because it's going to take
all of us working on all fronts, including using these new Dietary Guidelines,
to get consumption where it needs to be.”
The United Fresh Produce Association also cheered the new consumer
message to “make half your plate fruits and vegetables.” The Dietary
Guidelines have long recommended that Americans consume more healthy
foods like fruits and vegetables, but the “make half your plate fruits and
vegetables” message is the strongest and most compelling message to ever
come out of Department of Agriculture and Department of Health & Human
Services about fruits and vegetables, United said in a separate press release.
“Today’s announcement is a huge step toward encouraging healthier eating
habits across the country, and we couldn’t be happier,” Lorelei DiSogra,
United’s vice president of nutrition and health, who cited the “half a plate”
strategy as a key tactic in testimony delivered to the Dietary Guidelines
Advisory Committee in 2009 and 2010, said in the release. “By making an
overarching recommendation like 'half a plate,’ the 2010 DGA provides
clearer guidance to Americans that no matter what their age or calorie intake
requirement, everyone needs to strive to have fruits and vegetables make up
half of what they eat at each meal. In late 2004, in preparation for the release
of the 2005 Dietary Guidelines, the National Cancer Institute did scientific
consumer research to demonstrate that the half-a-plate message was the
most effective way to communicate the amount of fruits and vegetables
American should eat. The 2010 Dietary Guidelines really put fruits and
vegetables front and center as a critical step toward creating a healthier
The 2010 Dietary Guidelines is available at www.dietaryguidelines.gov.