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USDA Rolls Out First Themed MyPlate Healthy Eating Message: Make Half Your Plate Fruits and Vegetables
WASHINGTON, September 7, 2011 -- Today, Agriculture Secretary Thomas Vilsack announced the first themed message, Make Half Your Plate Fruits and Vegetables, supporting the new MyPlate food icon and First Lady Michelle Obama's Let's Move! initiative through a new national private-sector partnership program.
"We know that consumers are inundated with multiple nutrition messages that it make it difficult to focus on changes that are necessary to improve their diet," said Secretary Vilsack. "USDA is committed to helping Americans make healthier food choices and our MyPlate symbol is a great reminder to think before we eat. By working with our national partners we can coordinate and amplify efforts to promote healthy eating tips like 'Make Half Your Plate Fruits and Vegetables' that serve as easy to understand reminders that we can all incorporate into our daily lives."
The U.S. Department of Agriculture's Center for Nutrition Policy and Promotion (CNPP) has called upon its 44 National Strategic Partners and over 3,500 Community Partners to amplify this message nationwide. In a novel approach, to extend this healthy eating message to the general public, National Strategic Partners have adopted a day during the month of September to promote Make Half Your Plate Fruits and Vegetables. A calendar showing the name of each National Strategic Partner that has adopted a day along with contact information may be downloaded at www.cnpp.usda.gov/AdoptADay.pdf.
National Strategic Partners are organizations, such as major corporations and associations, that are national in scope. Community Partners are organizations, such as health clinics, schools, gyms and weight loss centers, churches, doctors, etc., that serve local, state or regional individuals and families. To learn more about the partnership programs, go to www.choosemyplate.gov/Partnerships/index.aspx.
New messages in the months to come will include Enjoy Your Food, But Eat Less; Drink Water Instead of Sugary Drinks; Make at Least Half Your Grains Whole Grains; and Avoid Oversized Portions. USDA and its partners will find innovative ways to deliver the easy-to-adopt how-tos for these messages to empower consumers to make healthier food choices.
Originally identified in the Child Obesity Task Force report which noted that simple, actionable advice for consumers is needed, MyPlate will replace the MyPyramid image as the government's primary food group symbol as an easy-to-understand visual cue to help consumers adopt healthy eating habits consistent with the 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans. MyPyramid will remain available to interested health professionals and nutrition educators in a special section of the new website.
ChooseMyPlate.gov provides practical information to individuals, health professionals, nutrition educators, and the food industry to help consumers build healthier diets with resources and tools for dietary assessment, nutrition education, and other user-friendly nutrition information. As Americans are experiencing epidemic rates of overweight and obesity, the online resources and tools can empower people to make healthier food choices for themselves, their families, and their children. Later this year, USDA will unveil an exciting "go-to" online tool that consumers can use to personalize and manage their dietary and physical activity choices.
The 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans, launched in January of this year, form the basis of the federal government's nutrition education programs, federal nutrition assistance programs, and dietary advice provided by health and nutrition professionals.
As part of this new initiative, USDA wants to see how consumers are putting MyPlate in to action by encouraging consumers to take a photo of their plates and share on Twitter with the hash-tag #MyPlate. USDA also wants to see where and when consumers think about healthy eating. Take the plate and snap a photograph with MyPlate to share with our USDA Flickr Photo Group http://www.flickr.com/groups/choosemyplate/.
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