Throughout the year, our blog will feature AHA volunteer stories of survival and hope. We know there are thousands of stories like these - thats why we want to say “Thanks” to all of you for giving your time and sharing your lives with us. You can’t spell CURE without U! Thank you for all you do to build healthier lives free of cardiovascular disease and stroke. YOU’RE THE CURE!

Friday, June 3, 2011

American Heart Association CEO Nancy Brown Says New USDA Food Icon is a Positive Step Towards Improving Consumer Health

June 2, 2011

Our nation’s obesity epidemic calls for effective measures to help Americans make informed choices about the nutritional quality of their meals. The overconsumption of unhealthy foods and beverages combined with inactive lifestyles has contributed to alarming obesity rates with nearly 150 million adults and one in three children in the U.S. overweight and obese. Many suffer from serious health conditions including type-2 diabetes, high blood pressure and other risk factors for cardiovascular diseases.

The American Heart Association applauds the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) for developing the new food icon to help guide consumers toward healthier diets to reduce their risk for life-threatening illnesses and minimize mixed messages about a healthy eating pattern and what foods should be included to promote ideal health. We commend the agency’s efforts to translate the Dietary Guidelines for Americans into a more consumer-friendly format.

The new plate-shaped logo, divided into the basic food groups, will emphasize the importance of increasing consumption of whole grains, low-fat dairy products and lean proteins. More importantly, the symbol conveys that half the plate should consist of fruits and vegetables. These guidelines align with the association’s diet and lifestyle recommendations. However, it is our hope that the program will eventually provide detailed information on healthy beverage options and establish robust evaluation to determine consumer acceptance and use of the new graphic.

We look forward to working with the USDA to promote the new consumer education campaign and will continue to stress the importance of effectively balancing calories with physical activity to manage weight and improve overall health.

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