WASHINGTON - Yesterday First Lady Michelle Obama helped unveil the USDA€™s revamped food pyramid €" which is actually a plate €" that will be used as part of her "Let€™s Move" campaign to fight childhood obesity.
"MyPlate" is a new icon with the intent to prompt consumers to think about building a healthy plate at meal times and to seek more information to help them do that by going to ChooseMyPlate.gov. The icon promotes fruits and vegetables, which cover half the circle. Grains occupy an additional quarter, as do proteins including meat, fish and poultry.
"Make half your plate fruits and vegetables," said Robert Post, an official at USDA€™s center for nutrition policy and promotion, adding that the USDA is targeting food producers, health insurers, restaurants and schools as partners in promoting the new image, writes the Washington Post.
In an effort to create cohesion among federal agencies and promote positive nutrition behaviors to consumers, the "MyPlate" communications initiative supports the 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans. The goal of the initiative is to help Americans make better decisions about what they put on their plates (no pun intended).
Food industry groups are already applauding the new "MyPlate" initiative.
"PMA is extremely pleased to see the USDA move in this direction that not only benefits our industry, but more importantly helps consumers make better choices for a healthy lifestyle," said Bryan Silbermann, president and CEO of the Produce Marketing Association.
"The new USDA food graphic offers Americans a clear visual of a healthy plate," said Food Marketing Institute President and CEO Leslie G. Sarasin.
However, not all nutritionists are pleased with the new guidelines, writes the Washington Post. Walter Willett, a Harvard nutrition researcher, took issue with the glass of "dairy" milk on the side. "There really is no scientific basis" for encouraging three servings of dairy a day, he said, adding, "I think the USDA has trouble telling people to consume less [dairy]. They have a whole division telling people to eat more cheese."