USDA & HHS Guidelines Target Obesity Problem – Food & Beverage Organizations Can Be Part of the Solution

May 23, 2011 in Food & Beverage Industry Information



What’s the number one health crisis confronting our country?

Despite what you may think, it’s not cancer, heart disease or high blood pressure.  It’s obesity.  According to an announcement accompanying the official 2010 Dietary Guidelines:

“More than one-third of children
and more than two-thirds of adults in the U.S.
are overweight or obese.”

These sobering statistics have made the obesity epidemic a prime target of the USDA and the Department of Health and Human Services’ Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee.  This year’s guidelines, presented as a six chapter document released January 31, tackles obesity head-on with the following recommendations:

  • Enjoying food, but eating less (i.e., avoiding over-sized portions);
  • Balancing calories to manage weight;
  • Balancing calorie intake with exercise;
  • Eating more and a wider variety of fruits and vegetables, especially beans, peas and dark green, red and orange vegetables;
  • Consuming more whole grains and low-fat or fat-free milk;
  • Drinking water instead of sugary drinks;
  • Eating a wider variety of seafood and other lean proteins;
  • Substituting liquid oil for solid fats, when possible;
  • Building healthy eating patterns to stay within calorie limits, meet nutrient needs and reduce chronic disease risk;
  • Reducing daily sodium intake to less than 2,300 mg for most healthy people, and to 1,500 mg for those in higher risk categories.

According to Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack, “The 2010 Dietary Guidelines are being released at a time when the majority of adults and one in three children is overweight or obese, and this is a crisis that we can no longer ignore.”  Many food & beverage processors agree and have already begun reformulation projects in response to the Report.

The Food & Beverage Processing Industry – Part of the Obesity Solution

Moving forward, the USDA and HHS Dietary Guidelines will challenge food and beverage processors to improve the “overall food environment,” by supporting Americans’ efforts to meet the key recommendations of the Report.  To help solve the obesity epidemic, food and beverage organizations can work with federal, state and local governments to ensure that all Americans have access to the recommended nutrient-dense diet by:

  • Increasing nutrition education programs;
  • Improving access to affordable fresh produce and food;
  • Developing safe, effective and sustainable practices to expand aquaculture to increase the availability of seafood;
  • Offering health-promoting foods that are low in sodium, solid fat, added sugars and refined grains;
  • Adopting sound policies and responsible practices to prevent foodborne illnesses.

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