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MyPlate Celebrates Its First Anniversary; Prompting People to Eat Healthy

Posted by Rajen S. Anand, Executive Director, USDA Center for Nutrition Policy and Promotion in Food and Nutrition Initiatives
May 30, 2012
MyPlate Food Icon
MyPlate Food Icon

June 2, 2012 will mark the first anniversary of the release of MyPlate food icon.  At ceremonies a year earlier, First Lady Michelle Obama and Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack unveiled the federal government’s new food icon to serve as a reminder to help consumers make healthier food choices. MyPlate, which replaced MyPyramid, is a new generation 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 by going to  The new MyPlate icon emphasizes the fruit, vegetable, grains, protein and dairy food groups.  On September 30, MiPlato, a Spanish version of MyPlate was released by Secretary Vilsack, U.S. Surgeon General Regina Benjamin, Interior Secretary Ken Salazar and White House Chef Sam Kass to reach the Hispanic population in the United States.  Today, MyPlate and MiPlato are among the most recognized food images developed by the government.

As the First Lady said at the unveiling, “This is a quick, simple reminder for all of us to be more mindful of the foods that we’re eating and as a mom, I can already tell how much this is going to help parents across the country.  When mom or dad comes home from a long day of work, we’re already asked to be a chef, a referee, a cleaning crew.  So it’s tough to be a nutritionist, too. But we do have time to take a look at our kids’ plates.  As long as they’re half full of fruits and vegetables, and paired with lean proteins, whole grains and low-fat dairy, we’re golden.  That’s how easy it is.”

Commenting further, Secretary Vilsack said, “With so many food options available to consumers, it is often difficult to determine the best foods to put on our plates when building a healthy meal.  MyPlate is an uncomplicated symbol to help remind people to think about their food choices in order to lead healthier lifestyles. This effort is about more than just giving information, it is a matter of making people understand there are options and practical ways to apply them to their daily lives.”

The 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans form the basis of the federal government’s nutrition education programs, federal nutrition assistance programs, and dietary advice provided by health and nutrition professionals. MyPlate reflects the major principles of the Dietary Guidelines.

The President’s Child Obesity Task Force report released in 2009 noted that simple, actionable advice for consumers is needed.  From that challenge, MyPlate was developed and has now replaced the MyPyramid image as the government’s primary food group symbol as an easy-to-understand visual cue to remind consumers about healthy eating habits consistent with the 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans.

The website provides practical information to individuals, health professionals, nutrition educators, and the food industry to help consumers build a healthier diet 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.  In December 2011, USDA released its new SuperTracker, a comprehensive online tool that consumers can use to personalize and manage their dietary and physical activity choices.  We are proud to say that in the 6 months since its launch, there are over 750,000 registered SuperTracker users.

The USDA Center for Nutrition Policy and Promotion (CNPP) has instituted a multi-year campaign that started with “Make Half Your Plate Fruits and Vegetables.”  This effort will help unify the public and private sectors toward the goal of improving the health of all Americans.

In addition, CNPP has developed a partnership program to help extend the reach of MyPlate across the country.  In just one year, MyPlate has engaged over 6,000 Community Partners and 85 National Strategic Partners through the Nutrition Communicator’s Network.  Partners help to expand the message of MyPlate by hosting nationwide Twitter exchanges and sharing campaign messages.