American Dietetic Association statement on new 'MyPyramid'

Statement by Susan H. Laramee, registered dietitian and president of the American Dietetic Association, on the April 19 release of the new "MyPyramid" Food Guidance System graphic symbol by the U.S. Department of Agriculture:

The ultimate value and success of the new "MyPyramid" Food Guidance System graphic will be measured by whether it can serve as an effective tool to help people eat according to the 2005 Dietary Guidelines for Americans. Time will tell if MyPyramid will convey to consumers the vital nutritional messages of balance, variety, moderation and adequacy. If MyPyramid can assist people in effectively adopting the recommendations of the Dietary Guidelines, it will be a great success.

As the American Dietetic Association recommended to the USDA last year, the iconic and widely known shape of the Food Guide Pyramid has been retained as the government's primary graphical symbol of variety, proportion and moderation in making good nutritional choices. ADA recommended that the educational messages within and accompanying the Pyramid should be updated to improve consumer understanding, which has also been done.

ADA believes no one graphic symbol can or should serve as a stand-alone consumer nutrition education tool. Many surveys over the years, including ADA's own 1997 nutrition trends survey, found most people recognize the Food Guide Pyramid. The problem is that few people really understood the Pyramid and even fewer followed it. What is needed is what the USDA announced today: a Food Guidance System that includes a graphic symbol plus consumer messages and motivational and educational tools that work together to guide people toward healthy food choices.

The 2005 Dietary Guidelines emphasize greater consumption of fruits, vegetables, low-fat dairy products and whole grains foods that are naturally high in nutrients and low in calories. That is consistent with ADA's positions and consumer messages that emphasize the individua

Contact: Kelly Liebbe
American Dietetic Association

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