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Dietary Guidelines for Americans

May 29, 2010

My Pyramid is a database that allows you to learn about and understand the USDA’s Dietary Guidelines for Americans. These guidelines provide science-based advise on food and physical activity choices for health for everyone over two years of age. The goal of the Dietary Guidelines is to address the needs of specific population groups; I have highlighted some of the recommendations for infants and children. The recommendations are intended to aid the public in reducing the risk of obesity and chronic disease throughout life.

1) Adequate Nutrients within Calorie Needs

-Consume a variety of nutrient-dense foods and beverages (avoid sodas, highly processed foods)

-Limit intake of saturated/trans fats, cholesterol, added sugars, salt, and alcohol.

-Meet recommended intakes within calorie needs through a well balanced diet

For children, important areas to focus on include: calcium, potassium, fiber, magnesium, Vitamin D and Vitamin E.

2) Weight Management

-Maintain a healthy body weight through balance of intake and output of calories

-For Children: promote growth and development.

-do not place overweight children on a weight reduction diet unless authorized by the child’s physician

-Weight should be in the healthy BMI range of 18-24

3) Physical Activity

-Participate in regular physical activity to promote health, well-being, and a healthy body weight.

– For Children: when of age to participate, 60 minutes of activity on most days of the week is recommended.

Estimated Calorie Requirements:

2-3 years:

Sedentary: 1,000 calories

Moderately Active-Active: 1,000-1,400 calories

4-8 years:

Sedentary: 1,200 calories

Moderately active-active: 1,400-1,800 calories

4) Food Groups to encourage

-Consume a sufficient amount of fruits and vegetables while staying within energy needs

-Choose  a variety of fruits and vegetables; choose vegetables dark or bright in color more often

-Choose whole grains at least half of the time.

For children ages 2-8: consume 2 cups of milk/dairy per day, whole grains often

5) Fats

2-3 years: keep total fat intake between 30-35% of calories

4+ years: keep total fat intake between 25-35%

-Majority of fats should come from polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fatty acids such as fish, nuts, and vegetable oil

6) Carbohydrates

-Choose fiber rich fruits, vegetables, and whole grains

-Choose and prepare foods and beverages with little added sugars or caloric sweeteners

-Consume sugar and starch containing foods and beverages less frequently.

7) Sodium and Potassium

-Consume less than 1 tsp of salt per day

-Choose and prepare foods with little salt

-Choose potassium rich fruits, vegetables, and fish

8) Food Safety

-Infants and Young children should not eat or drink ray milk or any products made from unpasteurized milk, raw or partially cooked eggs of foods containing raw eggs, raw or undercooked meat, poultry, fish or shellfish, or unpasteurized juices.

Information from mypyramid.gov

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