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Feature Articles: Food, Fitness and Eating Well


New dietary guidelines released

Tammy Roberts, Nutrition and Health Education Specialist, Barton County, University of Missouri Extension


Once every five years the USDA and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services reviews and publishes Dietary Guidelines for Americans. The Dietary Guidelines are meant to serve as a guide for healthy eating practices for all Americans ages 2 years and older.


Many chronic diseases are associated with overweight and obesity. When citizens are dealing with the health concerns of obesity and chronic disease they are unable to be productive citizens. Proper diet and an increase in physical activity are the most important factors in combating obesity and a good first step in combating chronic disease.


The 2010 Dietary Guidelines make four major recommendations:


  1. Balance calories to manage weight: Total calorie intake must be controlled to prevent overweight and obesity. Physical activity plays an important role in maintaining a healthy weight. It is important to maintain this calorie balance from childhood to older age.

  3. Reduce certain foods: Saturated fat should be no more than 10 percent of total calories. Trans fats should be limited as much as possible, and cholesterol consumption should be no more than 300 milligrams per day. It is recommended that refined grains be limited, especially the refined grains that contain solid fats, added sugars and sodium (e.g., cookies). Sodium is another thing on the list to reduce.

  5. Increase certain foods: Foods to increase include fruits and vegetables, whole grains, low-fat or fat-free milk and quality sources of protein like seafood.

  7. Build healthy eating patterns: Nutrient needs can be met by establishing healthy eating patterns at an appropriate calorie level. Additionally, these foods need to be prepared to assure food safety.


There are many recommendations in the 2010 Dietary Guidelines. Why not make it a goal to choose just one guideline to adopt and follow as you plan your meals for the next weeks and months? You’ll be making a positive contribution to your health and well-being.


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Last update: Tuesday, February 15, 2011