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Press Release

Dietary Guidelines: Urgent Prescription for an Unhealthy Public, Says American Dietetic Association

2011-01-31

Media Contacts: Ryan O'Malley, Allison MacMunn
800/877-1600, ext. 4769, 4802 media@eatright.org

CHICAGO – With a majority of the country's adults either overweight or obese, the new 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans are the first to address an unhealthy public, making their recommendations especially urgent for consumers and health professionals alike, according to the American Dietetic Association.

ADA supports the Dietary Guidelines' "healthy balance" approach to weight management, which focuses on consuming "nutrient-dense foods and beverages" and engaging in regular physical activity to create an eating pattern that is right for each individual. ADA also supports the Dietary Guidelines' call for "options that can accommodate cultural, ethnic, traditional and personal preferences and food cost and availability" in developing practical advice from scientific findings.

"ADA's position for many years has been that the overall pattern of food a person eats is the most important focus of a healthful eating style," said registered dietitian and American Dietetic Association President Judith C. Rodriguez. "It is gratifying to see that the Dietary Guidelines recommend the approach that experience and science tell us has the greatest likelihood of success."

ADA also supports making dietary guidance more accessible to people of all cultures and backgrounds, "especially those who experience health disparities, such as racial and ethnic minorities, people with disabilities and those who are economically challenged," Rodriguez said. "In our role as the source of accurate food and nutrition information for consumers, registered dietitians are in a unique position — to lead the cause of improving the health of Americans through small but incremental improvements in a person's daily activity: eating."

Rodriguez added: "The Dietary Guidelines provide an outline of what we hope to accomplish as a nation in the overall population's eating patterns. But success for each individual is best achieved by a thorough assessment of that person's specific needs, plus consumer-friendly guidance from food and nutrition experts such as registered dietitians in applying the recommendations of the Dietary Guidelines. Together we can help people understand that the types and amounts of foods they consume are the basis for lifelong health."

The 2010 Dietary Guidelines are based on a review of the latest scientific literature conducted by an advisory committee that included five ADA members. USDA and HHS call this evidence-based systematic review "the state-of-the-art method for objectively synthesizing research findings to support practice, guideline and policy recommendations."

"ADA commends USDA and HHS for their efforts to strengthen the evidence-based approach for assessing the scientific literature for future dietary recommendations," Rodriguez said. "The government now needs to invest in research and implementation to help people adopt the Dietary Guidelines."

ADA is closely aligning its consumer messages for National Nutrition Month® in March with the Dietary Guidelines, coordinating the National Nutrition Month theme "Eat Right with Color" with the launch of a USDA consumer messaging campaign for the Dietary Guidelines that is also planned for March.