Review Proposes New Dietary Guidelines Targeting Obesity

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Americans have a problem with obesity and a panel of 13 nutritional experts says we are eating too much junk food, too many sugars and too much fat. That is why they are proposing new dietary guideline that will involve better nutrition guidelines and education.

"The most important issue is that this set of guidelines is addressing an unhealthy American public for the first time," said Linda Van Horn of Northwestern University, chair of the Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee. "The obesity epidemic is priority number one, and every single thing in this report is focused on addressing that problem up front."

The 2010 Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee report stats that the obesity epidemic in America is the single-greatest threat to public health, and focuses attention not only on food consumed but the way Americans eat.

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DiSogra said the report suggests changes in policy and food environments to create extensive changes in diet patterns. In particular, she said the report suggests increasing fruit and vegetable availability for children. “This will help drive child nutrition reauthorization to the finish line,” she said. “It couldn't have come out at a better time.”

The committee has identified four major findings that may be taken to help Americans implementing better health and promoting dietary, nutrition and physical activity guidelines. First suggest that there is a reduction of overall calorie intake and increasing physical activity. They also suggest that people change foods by eating a more plant-based diet that with an emphasis on vegetables, cooked dry beans and peas, fruits, whole grains, nuts, and seeds.

Furthermore the committee wants to increase foods such as seafood and fat-free and low-fat milk and milk products and consume only moderate amounts of lean meats, poultry, and eggs. The experts also want to ssignificantly reduce intake of foods containing added sugars and solid fats as these foods contribute excess calories and few, if any, nutrients. Finally they want Americans to reduce sodium intake to 1,500mg per day rather than the 2,300 mg currently.

These new dietary guidelines will form the basis of the USDA's updated food pyramid, scheduled to be released in spring 2011. These guidelines also determine the nutrition standards for all federal nutrition programs, including the National School Lunch Program, which feeds more than 30 million children a day.

Walter Willett, a professor of nutrition and epidemiology at Harvard's School of Public Health, who didn't serve on the panel, said the reduced salt recommendation in the new dietary guidelines is "a step in the right direction." He said so many Americans develop conditions such as high blood pressure that it makes sense to apply the more-restrictive level to everyone. These new guide lines can help people of all ages live a healthier life.

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