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Nutrition, Vitamins & Supplements for Seniors

MyPlate Replaces Government’s MyPyramid as Icon for Healthy Eating

Not much being mentioned on new web site as specifically important to senior citizens; First Lady Michelle Obama joins kickoff

June 2, 2011 – The Department of Agriculture kicked the long-used MyPyramid off the stage today and introduced in its place as the government’s food icon MyPlate. It is a new generation icon with the intent to prompt Americans to think about a healthy plate at meal times, according to Ag Secretary Tom Vilsack, who introduced MyPlate with the help of First Lady Michelle Obama.

The new MyPlate icon emphasizes the fruit, vegetable, grains, protein and dairy food groups but had little advice on healthy eating specifically for senior citizens.

 

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There are two specific recommendations for older Americans:

1. Those age 51 and older should reduce their daily sodium intake to 1,500 milligrams (mg). This also applies to those of any age that are African American or have hypertension, diabetes, or chronic kidney disease. The 1,500 mg recommendation applies to about half of the U.S. population, including children, and the majority of adults. The other half is advised to stick with less than 2,300 (mg) a day

2. People ages 50 and older are advised to consume foods fortified with vitamin B12, such as fortified cereals, or dietary supplements.

That is about it when it comes to pin-point advice for senior citizens. More information on healthy eating is available at www.ChooseMyPlate.gov.

The new MyPlate icon emphasizes the fruit, vegetable, grains, protein and dairy food groups.

“This is a quick, simple reminder for all of us to be more mindful of the foods that we’re eating and as a mom, I can already tell how much this is going to help parents across the country,” said Mrs. Obama.

“When mom or dad comes home from a long day of work, we’re already asked to be a chef, a referee, a cleaning crew. So it’s tough to be a nutritionist, too. But we do have time to take a look at our kids’ plates. As long as they’re half full of fruits and vegetables, and paired with lean proteins, whole grains and low-fat dairy, we’re golden. That’s how easy it is.”

“With so many food options available to consumers, it is often difficult to determine the best foods to put on our plates when building a healthy meal,” said Secretary Vilsack. “MyPlate is an uncomplicated symbol to help remind people to think about their food choices in order to lead healthier lifestyles. This effort is about more than just giving information, it is a matter of making people understand there are options and practical ways to apply them to their daily lives.”

Originally identified in the Child Obesity Task Force report, which noted that simple, actionable advice for consumers is needed, MyPlate will replace the MyPyramid image as the government’s primary food group symbol as an easy-to-understand visual cue. It should help consumers adopt healthy eating habits consistent with the 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans.

MyPyramid will remain available to interested health professionals and nutrition educators in a special section of the new website.

ChooseMyPlate.gov provides practical information to individuals, health professionals, nutrition educators, and the food industry to help consumers build healthier diets with resources and tools for dietary assessment, nutrition education, and other user-friendly nutrition information.

As Americans are experiencing epidemic rates of overweight and obesity, the online resources and tools can empower people to make healthier food choices for themselves, their families, and their children. Later this year, USDA will unveil an exciting “go-to” online tool that consumers can use to personalize and manage their dietary and physical activity choices.

Over the next several years, USDA will work with First Lady Michelle Obama’s Let’sMove! initiative and public and private partners to promote MyPlate and ChooseMyPlate.gov as well as the supporting nutrition messages and “how-to” resources.

The 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans, launched in January of this year, form the basis of the federal government’s nutrition education programs, federal nutrition assistance programs, and dietary advice provided by health and nutrition professionals. The Guidelines messages include:

Balance Calories
• Enjoy your food, but eat less.
• Avoid oversized portions.

Foods to Increase
• Make half your plate fruits and vegetables.
• Switch to fat-free or low-fat (1%) milk.
• Make at least half your grains whole grains

Foods to Reduce
• Compare sodium (salt) in foods like soup, bread, and frozen meals, and choose foods with lower numbers.
• Drink water instead of sugary drinks.

Coupled with these tested, actionable messages will be the “how-tos” for consumer behavior change. A multi-year campaign calendar will focus on one action-prompting message at a time starting with “Make Half Your Plate Fruits and Vegetables.”

“What we have learned over the years is that consumers are bombarded by so many nutrition messages that it makes it difficult to focus on changes that are necessary to improve their diet,” said Secretary Vilsack. “This new campaign calendar will help unify the public and private sectors to coordinate efforts and highlight one desired change for consumers at a time.”

Share Your Plate on Twitter

As part of this new initiative, USDA wants to see how consumers are putting MyPlate in to action by encouraging consumers to take a photo of their plates and share on Twitter with the hash-tag #MyPlate.

USDA also wants to see where and when consumers think about healthy eating. Take the Plate [link to downloadable plate image] and snap a photograph with MyPlate to share with our USDA Flickr Photo Group (http://www.flickr.com/people/usdagov/).

For more information, visit www.ChooseMyPlate.gov.

Additional resources include: www.DietaryGuidelines.gov and www.LetsMove.gov.

 

 

 

 

 

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