The federal government last week unveiled a new food chart, called MyPyramid, designed to guide Americans in making healthier choices about what to eat.
Coming at a time of mounting concern about obesity rates among both children and adults, the redesign of the ubiquitous food pyramid is meant to encourage Americans to exercise as well as to eat nutritious food. The figure of a person climbing steps on the side of the pyramid conveys the message that physical activity is a crucial part of a healthful lifestyle.
The “food-guidance system” includes interactive technology on a Web site called MyPyramid.gov, where individuals can key in their age, gender, and level of physical activity to learn how many calories they should consume each day.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture, which developed the new pyramid for people age 2 and older, is working on a child-friendly version for 6- to 11-year-olds and their teachers.
“Many Americans can dramatically improve their overall health by making modest improvements to their diets and by incorporating regular physical activity into their daily lives,” Secretary of Agriculture Mike Johanns said last week.
The pyramid, which features vertical, colored bands symbolizing the various food groups, is based on the 2005 Dietary Guidelines for Americans, released in January.