A generation of Americans raised on the iconic image of the food pyramid will have to get used to a new symbol in healthy eating: MyPlate.
The Obama administration, led by First Lady Michelle Obama, introduced MyPlate at a press conference in Washington, D.C.. The plate will take the place of the Food Pyramid, which was used by officials, schools and scientists to promote healthy meal portions. The pyramid used exact measurements and serving sizes.
The pyramid was introduced in 1992 by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). Today, the USDA, Obama, Surgeon General Regina Benjamin and Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack are turning to Myplate, which they say is easier to understand for everyday parents.
Parents don't have the time to measure out exactly three ounces of chicken or look up how much rice or broccoli is in a serving. That has confounded me as a parent for a very long time. But we do have time to look at our kids' plates, Obama said during a press conference.
Myplate attempts to make healthy eating simpler. The plate image is divided into five sections: fruits, grains, vegetables, protein and dairy. The bigger slices of the plate belong to vegetables and grains, fruits and protein are next and dairy is on the side.
The new icon is simple and easy to understand, with more emphasis placed on fruits and vegetables, said U.S. Surgeon General Regina M. Benjamin during the press conference. This new tool can be a fun way to help individuals and families make healthier meal choices. I encourage all Americans to follow the new dietary guidelines and become familiar with the new icon because it will serve as a compass to a healthy and fit nation.
Childhood obesity has been Michelle Obama's hallmark issue as first lady. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, 17 percent of all children in the U.S. are obese. The numbers are greater than 30 percent in numerous states.
The Soyfoods Association of North America is pleased with the new health food imagery. The company's executive director Nancy Chapman said MyPlate is straightforward and actionable.
Adults and children alike will be able to understand what a healthy plate should look like, Chapman said.
The Dairy Association is another food group that likes MyPlate, mainly because it accepts dairy is a huge part of any healthy meal.
Knowing what we do about dairy's ability to reduce the risk of conditions like osteoporosis, hypertension and type 2 diabetes, we think it's exciting that dairy is highlighted individually, Jean Ragalie, president of National Dairy Council, said in a statement. The location of dairy on the graphic really helps it stand out as an essential part of a healthy eating plan.