Postprint version. Published in Nutrition in Clinical Care, Volume 8, Issue 2, November 2, 2005, pages 102-104. Copyright © 2005 Blackwell Publishing.
NOTE: At the time of publication, the author Ann Y. McDermott was not yet affiliated with Cal Poly.
The US Department of Agriculture (USDA) has un-unveiled a new symbol and an interactive "food guidance system" called "MyPyramid: Steps to a Healthier You," which replaces the 13-year-old Food Guide Pyramid. The new program aims to support the eating and physical activity habits necessary to promote health and prevent such common diseases as obesity, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, osteoporosis, and some cancers. Over the past few decades, population-specific scientific evidence of the effects of nutrition, activity, and body weight on health outcomes has become available. The scientific literature allowed the formulation of new and more detailed recommendations. The USDA's new system emphasizes the need to individualize dietary and physical activity information for people age 2 and older, while acknowledging the fact that regardless of age or gender, everyone can benefit from physical activity and the same types of healthful foods. Of course, the recommended numbers of daily portions vary depending upon the individual's estimated caloric needs and life stage.