The number of deaths related to poor diet and physical inactivity is on the rise, prompting the advisory committee that helps shape the nation's dietary guidelines to change its focus.
The number of deaths related to poor diet and physical inactivity is on the rise and may soon overtake tobacco as the leading cause of death in the US, prompting the advisory committee that helps shape the nation’s dietary guidelines to change its focus.
The pending 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans, the latest version of the recommendations that are updated and reissued every five years by the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), will concentrate on “halting and reversing the obesity problem through primary prevention and changes in behavior, the environment, and the food supply."
The 2010 guidelines will focus on reducing obesity, what the USDA-HHS considers to be “the single greatest threat to public health in this century,” through the following recommendations:
• Reduce overweight and obesity by cutting overall calorie intake and increasing physical activity;
• Shift food intake patterns to a more plant-based diet that emphasizes vegetables, cooked dry beans and peas, fruits, whole grains, nuts, and seeds and to one that emphasizes increased intake of seafood and fat-free and low-fat milk and milk products and consumption of only moderate amounts of lean meats, poultry and eggs;
• Significantly lower intake of foods containing added sugars and solid fats;
• Reduce sodium intake;
• Eat fewer refined grains, especially those in foods with added sugar, solid fat and sodium; and
• Meet the 2008 Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans issued by HHS.
The committee also suggests reducing the current recommendation of ingesting fewer than 2,300 milligrams of sodium per day to 1,500 milligrams, and wants to see Americans obtain less than 7% of their calories from saturated fat, a reduction from the current recommendation of less than 10%.
The FDA is also looking for comments about a new federal law that would, if implemented, require certain restaurants and other retail food operations to provide customers with the calorie content and other nutritional information of menu items. To learn more about the proposal, and to submit a comment, please click here.