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The First Lady and the USDA Launch “MyPlate,” the Next Generation’s Food Pyramid

MyPlate IconOn June 2, 2011, First Lady Michelle Obama and Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack launched the federal government’s new food icon, MyPlate. MyPlate is a new generation icon that will assist consumers in building a healthy plate during meal times. “MyPlate is an uncomplicated symbol to help remind people to think about their food choices in order to lead healthier lifestyles,” said Secretary Vilsack. The MyPlate icon, as seen to the right, uses a place setting to help consumers visualize the healthy proportions of fruit, vegetable, grains, protein and dairy food groups.

The MyPlate website,, provides practical information to individuals, health professionals, nutrition educators, and the food industry to help consumers build healthier diets with resources and tools for dietary assessment, nutrition education, and other user-friendly nutrition information. The online resources and tools can empower people to make healthier food choices for themselves, their families, and their children. Later this year, USDA will unveil an exciting “go-to” online tool that consumers can use to personalize and manage their dietary and physical activity choices.

MyPlate was developed using guidelines established by the 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans, which was released earlier this year. A summary of the launch is available in a previous issue of Latitudes. Some of the selected guidelines for consumers from the 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans include:

  • Enjoy your food, but eat less.
  • Avoid oversized portions.
  • Make half your plate fruits and vegetables.
  • Make at least half your grains whole grains.
  • Switch to fat-free or low-fat (1%) milk.
  • Compare sodium in foods like soup, bread, and frozen meals ― and choose the foods with lower numbers.
  • Drink water instead of sugary drinks.

MyPlate will replace the MyPyramid image as the government’s primary food group symbol. MyPyramid, which was introduced in 2005 alongside the 2005 Dietary Guidelines for Americans report, will still be available for health professionals and nutrition educators in the For Professionals section of the new MyPlate website.

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