2010 Dietary Guidelines address obesity crisis in America

January 31, 2011

U.S. 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.

Because more than one-third of children and more than two-thirds of adults in the United States are overweight or obese, the 7th 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,” said 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 new 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans 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 grains.

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. More consumer-friendly advice and tools, including a next-generation Food Pyramid, will be released by USDA and HHS in the coming months.

“The new Dietary Guidelines set high standards that will require a concerted effort among numerous scientific disciplines to gradually change consumer behavior,” said Roger Clemens, IFT President Elect and a member of the 2010 Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee. “In addition, it is extremely important that we ensure that the current food system, from farm to fork, has the capacity to meet future needs and that food industry continues its efforts to develop healthier food choices that appeal to consumers.”

USDA and HHS have conducted this latest review of the scientific literature, and have developed and issued the 7th 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 newly released Dietary Guidelines for Americans will present both challenges and unique opportunities for the food industry to develop new and improved healthful foods. How will your organization respond to these new recommendations? The Institute of Food Technologists is holding a webcast on Friday, Feb. 11, at 12:00–1:30 p.m. Central, to discuss the implications of the new Guidelines for the food industry. This webcast is free to IFT members and $49 to non-members. This live webcast has a capacity of up to 1,000 attendees and registration is first-come, first-serve.

During this webcast, speakers Roger A. Clemens, Chief Scientific Officer at E.T. Horn Company and President Elect of IFT; Richard M. Black, V.P. of Global Nutrition at Kraft Foods Inc.; and Darren Seifer, Food & Beverage Industry Analyst at The NPD Group Inc., will discuss the 2010 Dietary Guidelines, as well as provide an industry perspective on the development of food-based solutions that increase consumers’ understanding and adoption of the new guidance. They will also discuss the latest consumer trends, and where the intersections of these trends and the new guidelines are creating unique product development opportunities for food companies. Register today.

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