2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans
2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans

Improving the Health of an Overweight Yet Undernourished Population

all 5 food groups The 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans were released in a time of rising concern about the epidemic of overweight and obesity in our nation. Yet it’s important to remember that despite the obesity problem many Americans are still undernourished. In other words, they may be getting more calories than needed for a healthy weight, yet these calories are often lacking the important nutrients needed for optimal health. The 2010 Guidelines did an excellent job addressing ways to improve weight while still helping Americans realize the importance of getting vital nutrients through a variety of foods.

There are an abundance of foods available in the U.S. that are rich in nutrition and taste great too, yet are still under-consumed. These foods include vegetables, fruits, low-fat milk and milk products, whole grains and oils. As a result of this under-consumption, the recent Dietary Guidelines reported that “dietary intakes of key nutrients- potassium, dietary fiber, calcium and vitamin D are low enough to be a public health concern for both adults and children.”

Here are some key steps to help your clients close the nutrient gap and still promote a healthy weight:

  • Consume a variety of vegetables, especially dark green, red and orange, as well as beans and peas.
  • Increase intake of fat-free and low-fat milk and milk products, such as milk, yogurt and cheese. Consuming milk helps children and adults meet 3 of the 4 nutrients of concern- potassium, calcium and vitamin D.
  • Consume at least half (and better yet, all) grains as whole grains.
  • Choose a variety of protein foods, which include seafood, lean meat and poultry, eggs, beans and peas, soy products and unsalted nuts and seeds.

Eating a dietary pattern which includes the foods mentioned above not only promotes nutrient adequacy, it also helps keep calories in control and reduces the risk of chronic disease.

In our efforts to combat obesity, let’s not overlook the opportunity we have as health professionals to help clients consume these critically important yet under-consumed foods. Dairy Council of California is here to assist you in these efforts by providing you with nutrition education programs that reflect the recent Dietary Guidelines and teach these fundamental principles to healthy eating.