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USDA Unveils New Dietary Standards

Posted on June 3, 2011

On June 2, First Lady Michelle Obama and Surgeon General Dr. Regina Benjamin unveiled the USDA’s new dietary guidelines, called MyPlate, which will replace the previous food pyramid. MyPlate aims to make making healthy food decisions easier by replacing the previous standards which used daily numbers of servings with a graphic depiction of a plate filled on one half with fruits and vegetables, with whole grains and lean protein occupying a quarter each, and a small serving of dairy. MyPlate is an extension of Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move! initiative to reduce childhood obesity.

At the unveiling, Mrs. Obama remarked that the new icon is “simple enough for children to understand, even at the elementary level. They can learn to use this tool now and use it for the rest of their lives.” While the website launching MyPlate has not yet converted the child-oriented sections from the food pyramid, it does provide more specific guidelines for pregnant and breastfeeding women. The changes have been applauded by a number of groups, including the American Bakers Association and the United Fresh Produce Association.

Several Schubert Center Faculty Associates study childhood obesity and related health problems.

  • Dr. Leona Cuttler of the Department of Pediatrics studies diabetes and childhood obesity.
  • Dr. Elaine Borawski of the Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics and the Prevention Research Center for Healthy Neighborhoods studies various health behavior interventions aimed at obesity and diet modification.
  • Dr. Marilyn Lotas of the Frances Payne Bolton School of Nursing recently spoke at the Schubert Center on her research on childhood hypertension and obesity in Cleveland public schools. A policy brief on that study can be downloaded here.

Click here to visit the official MyPlate website and learn more about the new recommendations.

Click here to read an NPR article on the changes.

Click here to read a Washington Post article on the changes.

Page last modified: March 21, 2014