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New MyPlate Icon Unveiled to Replace Food Pyramid

Thursday, June 2, 2011

(American Meat Institute)

The Obama administration today unveiled the new MyPlate icon that will replace the current MyPyramid image, which has been the government’s symbol of healthy eating for the last two decades. 

The announcement was made this morning during a press conference led by Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack, featuring First Lady Michelle Obama and Surgeon General Regina Benjamin. 

Replacing MyPyramid is a plate-shaped symbol, sliced into wedges for the basic food groups. It consists of four colored sections: for fruits, vegetables, grains and protein.  There is also a circle where a glass or cup would appear that is labeled “dairy.” 

“This is a quick, simple reminder for all of us to be more mindful of the foods that we’re eating and as a mom, I can already tell how much this is going to help parents across the country,” said First Lady Michelle Obama. “When mom or dad comes home from a long day of work, we’re already asked to be a chef, a referee, a cleaning crew. So it’s tough to be a nutritionist, too. But we do have time to take a look at our kids’ plates. As long as they’re half full of fruits and vegetables, and paired with lean proteins, whole grains and low-fat dairy, we’re golden. That’s how easy it is.”

The administration said the plate symbol is meant to help educate consumers about the government’s latest dietary guidelines, which were released in January.

“We are pleased that the new food icon unveiled today, just as the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, 2010, affirms in a clear and simple fashion that protein is a critical component of a balanced, healthy diet," said AMI Foundation President James H. Hodges.  "Lean meat and poultry products are some the most nutrient rich foods available, are excellent sources of complete protein, iron and zinc and maintain an excellent nutrition per calorie ratio." 

Hodges added, “It is noteworthy that federal data show that consumers, on average, consume within the recommended range for the meat and beans group (now renamed protein) but under-consume fruits, vegetables and whole grains.  The new plate makes sense given the consumption patterns noted in the Dietary Guidelines.  The icon affirms the role that meat and poultry play in a healthy diet, while emphasizing under-consumed food groups.  Given the nutrient density of meat and poultry, it requires less space on the plate to offer great nutrition.  We think this plate affirms the role of meat and poultry in the diet and the ‘nutrition punch’ that our products deliver.  We think that consumers will relate well to the food groups represented in this manner."

“AMI will continue to voice support for the premise that a well-balanced diet, proper portion sizes and exercise are keys to overall good health and wellness," Hodges concluded. 

The administration also launched a new website to help promote awareness, nutrition education and other user-friendly nutrition information about the new symbol.

The new MyPlate icon and accompanying website can be found at: http://www.choosemyplate.gov/.

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