What’s on YOUR Plate?
A year of eating smarter with MyPlate
More than 700,000 people have registered for the MyPlate SuperTracker, an online tool that helps people track their diet and exercise. (www.choosemyplate.gov)
For almost 20 years, kids and adults alike learned about balancing a healthy diet from the Food Pyramid. But after years of tweaks and updates, the government decided it was time for something new. So last June, it unveiled a new guide called MyPlate to inspire families to eat healthier foods.
On Friday, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) celebrated the one-year anniversary of MyPlate with an event at the Caribbean Supercenter, a supermarket in Orlando, Florida. One of the speakers was Deputy Agriculture Secretary Kathleen Merrigan. She went to Orlando to highlight the success of MyPlate, to talk about the importance of exercising and eating healthy, and to announce a month of events to mark MyPlate’s birthday.
“The simplicity of looking at the plate and seeing that half of your plate should be fruits and vegetables has really worked,” Merrigan told the Scholastic News Kids Press Corps. “People are responding very positively to the message, and we are for the first time starting to see leveling off of obesity numbers in this country.” (Obesity is when people have enough extra fat in their bodies to cause very negative effects on their health.)
MyPlate was developed as a result of a White House Childhood Obesity Task Force report released in 2010. The report challenged the USDA to develop an easy-to-understand visual guide to help consumers choose healthier foods at mealtimes.
Since MyPlate debuted, its website has had more than 7 million downloads of MyPlate graphics and more than 700,000 registered users of the MyPlate SuperTracker. The SuperTracker is an online tool that helps users track their diet and physical activity.
“I just talked to a woman here at this market saying that MyPlate has helped her understand a healthy diet, which she had been struggling with for years, and she lost 30 pounds and changed the diet of her children significantly, so that they are healthier and less prone to mood swings,” Merrigan said. “When I travel across the country, I get to hear individual real-life stories from people about what a difference it’s making.”
The USDA has also partnered with more than 6,000 community programs across the country that have promoted the recommendations found in the 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans.
One of those programs is Share Our Strength, a national nonprofit organization that aims to end childhood hunger in the United States. Share Our Strength has partnered with the USDA to provide increased access to meal programs for children who are hungry in the summer months, when they are no longer given free lunches at school.
For more information on MyPlate resources and to join the MyPlate First Year Birthday Celebration, visit the MyPlate website.
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