Nutrition Connection: Healthy Eating Resources • Summer 2008
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When the U.S. Departments of Agriculture and Health and Human Services released the Dietary Guidelines for Americans in January of 2005, they made it clear that this was not the same old Dietary Guidelines. The 2005 edition was more in-depth than previous versions, providing detailed recommendations for policymakers and program planners. Separate, consumer-friendly materials were designed for the general public. That announcement was soon followed by the release of USDA’s MyPyramid – an updated food guide pyramid both intended to help consumers personalize the pyramid for their calorie and nutrient needs.
Both Departments have continued to release additional supporting guidance as work on implementing the 2005 Dietary Guidelines continues.
Dietary Guidelines for Americans
There are several new additions to the Dietary Guidelines resources library. In addition to the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, 2005 document and the companion consumer brochure, Finding Your Way to a Healthier You: Based on the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, the following resources are now available:
Toolkit for Health Professionals - HHS developed a toolkit to help health professionals translate the latest science-based nutrition and physical activity recommendations to the public. The toolkit includes the key recommendations from the Dietary Guidelines and supporting materials such as presentations and reproducible fact sheets that can be used with clients. The toolkit also provides findings from consumer research conducted during development of the Dietary Guidelines consumer brochure. The toolkit is available online at: http://www.health.gov/dietaryguidelines/dga2005/toolkit/default.htm.
A Healthier You – This consumer book is a one-stop, easy-to-use resource to help Americans make smart choices from every food group, find balance between food and physical activity, and get the most out of their calories. Designed to appeal to the many consumers purchasing diet books, A Healthier You includes a foreword written by First Lady Laura Bush, features the science-based recommendations of the Dietary Guidelines and provides hands-on tools, such as worksheets and recipes, that will help consumers improve their dietary and physical activity choices. The 325 page book is available from the U.S. Government Printing Office at: http://bookstore.gpo.gov/collections/healthier_you.jsp.
USDA continues to offer new tools and resources via MyPyramid.gov. The newest features on the website include MyPyramid Tracker, MyPyramid Menu Planner, and MyPyramid Podcasts.
MyPyramid Menu Planner - The MyPyramid Menu Planner allows individuals to plan food choices to meet individual MyPyramid goals. By simply entering height, weight, age, gender and a physical activity level, the website provides individual MyPyramid goals. Then you can start planning menus by searching for foods and beverages you plan to eat. By registering with a username and password, menu choices can be saved for later use. You can also print several reports such as daily menus, weekly menus, or even a menu for your entire family. The Menu Planner also provides a “My Next Steps” report which helps you select a step to take toward improving food choices, and guides you in selecting specific ways to reach this goal.
MyPyramid Tracker – This online dietary and physical activity assessment tool provides information on not only the quality of your diet, but also your physical activity status. Also included in the Tracker are nutrition messages related to helping you reach your MyPyramid goals, as well as links to nutrient and physical activity information. Within MyPyramid Tracker, the Food Calories/Energy Balance feature automatically calculates your energy balance by subtracting the energy you expend from physical activity from your reported energy intake. This tool is designed to help consumers better understand the link between good nutrition and regular physical activity.
MyPyramid PodCasts - The latest addition to the MyPyramid line-up are new videos which demonstrate how taking small steps can add up to real changes in weight and health. Presented by CNPP Executive Director, Dr. Brian Wansink, these podcasts include information related to a broad list of topics such as portion control and practical ways to live a more active lifestyle.
Resources for Older Adults
The National Resource Center on Nutrition, Physical Activity and Aging at Florida International University provides a number of materials targeted to older adults and the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, ranging from meal planning resources to consumers brochures and health fact sheets.
The Nutrition Services Providers Guide – This resource provides technical assistance for implementing the Dietary Guidelines for Americans in the Older Americans Act nutrition programs. It provides guidance in menu planning, food purchasing, food production, and food service and is intended to supplement the input from a registered dietitian as well as State and Tribal policies, procedures and guidance. Many of the suggested ways to implement menu planning provided in the nutrition service providers guide can apply to any quantity production facility.
Consumer Brochure – Getting older. Living healthier. Feeling better. Start today with the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, is a companion to the original Dietary Guidelines Consumer brochure but targeted for older adults.
Fact sheets - There are also several health facts sheets designed for older adults that cover individual Dietary Guidelines topics including...
- Get the Most Nutrition Out of Your Calories
- Choose Carbohydrates Wisely
- Eat Plenty of Fruits & Vegetables
- Know Your Fats
- Sodium & Potassium
- Play It Safe with Food
- For a Healthy Weight, Find Your Balance Between Food & Physical Activity
- Be Physically Active
These resources are all available at: http://nutritionandaging.fiu.edu/DRI_and_DGs/dg_resources.asp.
Looking to 2010
HHS and USDA continue to work on updating current programs to reflect the recommendations in the 2005 Dietary Guidelines. If that work is not enough, preparations for the 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans is already underway. USDA and HHS issued a call for nominations to the advisory committee in the spring of 2008. You can follow the work on the 2010 edition at: http://www.cnpp.usda.gov/DietaryGuidelines.htm.
Jennifer A. Weber, MPH, RD
Manager, National Nutrition Policy
American Dietetic Association
Rachel Kroll, Dietetic Intern