New Dietary Guidelines: Eat Less, Exercise More
As Americans’ waist lines continue to expand, there has never been a greater urgency to get America’s health back on track.
The USDA recently released the 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans, emphasizing the importance of choosing a healthy eating pattern – namely, one that focuses on nutrient-dense foods and beverages, and that contributes to achieving and maintaining a healthy weight.
The latest dietary guidelines communicate a clear message: eat less and exercise more.
Most of us recognize that healthy eating and regular physical activity are important behaviors to adopt. However, we also understand our choices ultimately influence our behaviors.
As consumers, we expect to have choices in the items we buy. We buy the shoes that fit our individual style, the iTunes we can relax to and the cars we can afford. Why should our food choices be any different? Because we enjoy a variety foods today, food choice — the freedom to choose the food that meets our needs and is produced in a way consistent with our values, when you want it, and that fits your budget — also means having access to all the information you want so you can choose what’s right for you and your family.
According to the dietary guidelines, “The prevalence of overweight and [obese people] in the United States is dramatically higher now than it was a few decades ago…The prevalence of obesity has doubled and in some cases tripled between the 1970s and 2008.” (Dietary Guidelines for Americans, 2010, p.9)
However, Americans’ weight isn’t the only thing that has changed in the past few decades. U.S. food makers, for example, are offering more products with reduced fats, sodium and sugars in order to ensure access to a wholesome diet for U.S. consumers. Food processing technologies, such as canning, freezing and packaging also allow a wide variety of foods to be available for U.S. consumers year-round.
Maintaining a variety of food choices is essential to ensuring access to a balanced diet that helps children and adults remain healthy and strong. Nevertheless, it’s important to remember: when you exercise regularly and eat a balanced diet, no food is off-limits if it’s consumed in moderation. While the Guidelines’ recommendations “accommodate the reality that a large percentage of Americans are overweight or obese and/or are at risk of various chronic diseases,” providing Americans with correct information regarding healthy eating patterns and physical activity choices also is crucial. A balanced diet including a variety of foods is a sound strategy for good nutrition, but it’s up to each of us to make informed decisions and choose what’s right for ourselves and our family.
Posted by Maggie
January 31, 2011