USDA Releases New Dietary Guidelines


The USDA acknowledges the growing concern about the health of the American population and presents their new data as an attempt to improve the health of all Americans by promoting both healthy eating and physical activity. It is believed that following these updated recommendations will aid Americans to live “longer, healthier, and more active lives.”

So what are some of the changes since the last time the USDA released their dietary guidelines 5 years ago?

Reduce your daily sodium intake to less than 2,300 milligrams. Reduce intake to 1,500 milligrams (that’s about ½ tsp. salt) among adults, African Americans, or those suffering from hypertension, diabetes or chronic kidney disease.

Eat more fish. Consume 8 to 12 ounces of seafood per week from a variety of seafood types. Pregnant and breastfeeding women should eat seafood at least twice a week for nutrients that play an important role in babies’ brain and eye development.

Increase physical activity. Children ages 6-17 should do 60 minutes or more of physical activity daily. Adults ages 18-64 should do at least 150 minutes a week of moderate-intensity, or 75 minutes a week of vigorous-intensity aerobic physical activity.

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  1. [...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Parents Magazine, Meridith Oram. Meridith Oram said: #USDA releases new dietary guidelines & acknowledges obesity epidemic. Is this enough? #gethealthy [...]

  2. by Dawn Papple

    On January 31, 2011 at 4:21 pm

    No, this is no where near enough. It’s actually a joke.

    If the USDA cared about our health in the least, they would step in and outlaw most of the foods geared towards children.

    Take a look at Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution. While you’re there, sign the petition. Just google it. Since the government agencies put in place to protect us won’t protect us, at least someone is trying to.

  3. by Erica Stephenson

    On January 31, 2011 at 5:31 pm

    I would not have posted if not for the previous comment. You want the government to start outlawing foods? That’s a) ridiculous b) communistic and c) ridiculous! Ultimately, it’s the parents who decide what their children eat. You can’t control how some corporations chose to market their foods! That’s absurd. Of course they want kids to want their products! It’s called ADVERTISING. and it is not, nor should it be, illegal. Again, parents can chose not to but their kids ‘convenience foods’. Most just don’t. And that’s no ones fault but their own. I say good job to the USDA for attempting to keep us informed. Which is all they are responsible for doing. The rest is up to us.

  4. by Dana L

    On January 31, 2011 at 5:33 pm

    As much as I agree with the above statement, lets not forget that government has no rights in our refridgerators. Nutrition, as with what schedule you use for your infants or what activities you allow your children to participate in, starts with parental guidence. the USDA is taking at least some step in helping with the education-which is the source to healthy futures.
    “When you get, give. When you learn, teach.”-Maya Angelou
    Education and the spreading there of is the weak link in this unhealthy chain.
    Also, lets not forget that everything is supply and demand. If we all stop buying the unhealthy items out there, companies will change their tune in order to continue to stay in business!

  5. [...] Find out more information about the new USDA dietary guidelines here. [...]

  6. by mama2potter

    On February 1, 2011 at 5:51 am

    The governemnt is already too involved in our food life. Happy Meals are only bad if you give them to your child all the time. A treat every now and then will not kill them. A full fat ice cream or full fat buttermilk (almost can’t buy anymore)pancake is a treat and should be treated that way. Also, it’s the exercise that many kids are missing–gym class at school if it exists is not near enough for our kids. NO banning foods is not the answer–education is what parents need and more examples of great ways to get their kids outside and moving.

  7. by Crystal

    On February 1, 2011 at 10:47 am

    No matter what the government does, it is THE PARENT’s RESPONSIBILITY to make their children eat right. The government really has no say in the matter when the government is not at home with every person in the country. The parents make the rules and apparently they are not good parents for ruling thier children. Most of the people that have a problem with this is the parents that allow the children/teens run them. parents are so afraid of thier children not “liking them” or “not being thier friend” that the kids run the houses and not the parents. Parents, step up and do your job. GO USDA

  8. by Krissy

    On February 1, 2011 at 11:11 am

    Although I think that the USDA could be improved I do agree that they need to pass on information and not be required to police our refrigerators or shopping baskets. My husband and I, as parents, allow our children to eat fast food-once a week at most. We make cookies and things but not every night. We enjoy our food and the occasional splurge but most days we eat healthy and train our children’s palates to appreciate the food that’s good for them. Do they want to go get a happy meal more often, sure, sometimes I want a burger and fries, but we, as the mature adults refuse to allow that because we know that a steady diet of that food is not good. Why can we control what food goes in and out of our family’s bodies, well, two reasons, 1. We are the parents. We take care of the children. 2. We have common sense. I want my children to be healthy in order to do that they need to like what’s good for them and know that in moderation the “All-American diet” is okay-teach them self-control and the rest is easy.
    Let’s be parents so our government doesn’t have to be!!

  9. by Kraso

    On February 1, 2011 at 11:26 am

    Government still needs to be involved in getting more gym classes in schools and better education for kids and parents.
    Some corporations are so much out there and aggressively advertising unhealthy foods in school areas, it makes it really difficult for parents.
    Corporations money making should not be jeopardizing kids health in any way. The government should play a balancing role in nutrition, medical care and education when it comes to children.

  10. by Aubrey

    On February 1, 2011 at 11:42 am

    It is all about supply and demand. We as consumers need to take the responsibility on ourselves and get educated about good food and exercise choices. The government should support this effort but it is ultimately up to us to carry it out in the lives of our families. When we as a society start choosing healthier more natural foods, companies will have to start supplying them or else they will go out of business. This is how you bring about change, not by being mandated by the government.

  11. by Denise

    On February 1, 2011 at 11:53 am

    No matter what parents do, it doesn’t make what corporations are doing right. Advertising to small children is “inherently deceptive” and therefore illegal.

  12. by L. Oq

    On February 1, 2011 at 11:54 am

    Welcome to the UNITES STATES OF AMERICA!Land of the “free to make our own decisions”. Thank you USDA for keeping us informed but the best defense against childhood obesity is us, parents. We brought them into the world it’s up to us to keep them healthy. Get off your lazy bums and lead by example. A healthy happy child begins at home. As for Fast Food places, its your money, either you buy it or don’t. Since when need the goverment to regulate nutrition. Your all adults, you all know how to use the internet obviously, so start doing the research and teach YOUR kids how to eat!

  13. by L. Oq

    On February 1, 2011 at 11:57 am

    This is for Denise. Then, turn off your television!

  14. by liz

    On February 1, 2011 at 12:00 pm

    I think what Dawn was saying is the gov needs to get rid of the cancer causing additives and toxic things that are in our food.
    I never bring my children to mcdonalds or any type of chain like that. It is the umimformed parents that think in moderation food that causes cancer and change the chemical make-up of our bodies is ok. All natural or organic treats are fine to have in moderation…junk food does not mean sugar or fat it means toxic preservatives and fake sugar and coloring!!! I think it should be banned or a warning label attached so everyone can stop ignoring the fact that fake food is making children sick!!! Do a google search on europes decision to use warning lables.

  15. by Denise

    On February 1, 2011 at 12:04 pm

    Just because we don’t hear about drug dealers on the news, or just because we teach our kids that drugs are bad, still makes dealing drugs illegal. Why would you want illegal actions continuing even if you can avoid them? Wouldn’t you worry about other kids becoming addicted and then having your child in that culture? Would you want cigarettes advertised to kids even if you could turn the TV off and teach your children it is bad? Read the article. Fight for our rights. Advertising foods that have little to no nutritional value as food to children under 8 is deceptive.

  16. by Nicole

    On February 1, 2011 at 12:05 pm

    they should be more specific about what types of fish to recommend pregnant and breastfeeding women to eat certain fish is high in mercury and can be damaging to fetus and baby

  17. by Liz

    On February 1, 2011 at 12:05 pm

    I forgot to mention that the children need to be protected from parents who decide to make unhealthy decisions. Look at how many obese parents are making thier kids fat. That is unfair to do to a innocent child. We wouldnt sit back and let a parent let thier children get drunk everyday….there are laws because some parents are not capable of protecting their children unless they will get in troble by the law.

  18. by mommyof5

    On February 1, 2011 at 12:12 pm

    The education is there for the taking. Everywhere you look you can find references to how to have a more healthy lifestyle. The newspaper, magazines, books and the internet all are excellent resources to help us. We can’t blame the government for those who do not avail themselves of the many tools out there.
    Yes parenting is difficult–saying no to our children can be difficult. We don’t allow them to play in the street regardless of how much they scream to. When we realize that the buck stops with us–the parents, it becomes easier to make correct decisions and stick with them to keep our children safe and healthy.
    Corporations are in business to make money–we can’t blame corporations for our bad choices. I don’t know of any reputable businesses that wait outside their doors and pull clients in and force them to partake of and pay for whatever good or service they provide. McDonald’s has become fat on our money because we chose to give it to them, due to our lack of time, lack of education or lack of motivation to do something with the food in the grocery store.
    Those who want the government to do everything for them may find that governmental regulation of every meal they eat and every time they exercise and for how long etc, etc is a good arrangement. More programs means more taxes and more red tape (and inherently, mismanagement) and less freedom. Those of us who can manage our affairs want the government to do what it was meant to do–which is to make and enforce laws that ensure the protection of citizens and to allow the citizens to act for themselves. Ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country:)

  19. by Krissy

    On February 1, 2011 at 2:11 pm

    The funny part about reading all of this, is that, really you’re all saying the same thing. The people who are choosing to eat and feed their children bad food don’t read these types of things. Nor do they have any desire to search for the information that will help. If you really want to make a difference, get involved in people’s lives. Be an example. Volunteer and work beside people who are in need of help. Without judgment or self-righteous attitudes go and love someone just because they are human and through that love show them how to live a healthier and more joy-filled life. Stop talking and do something about it.

  20. by Jenifer

    On February 1, 2011 at 2:29 pm

    WOW- they updated the USDA standards. This is a GUIDELINE- useful information to make ‘healthy CHOICES’
    Of course all kids want to eat lucky charms- should you choose to only buy cheerios than they wont have that choice- BUT by no means should the government step in dictate to people what they can not eat.
    Obviously if a parent feeds their kids chips and candy for dinner on a regular basis, that is not okay- however that IS already illegal- it’s called neglect.
    I don’t like all the inappropriate commercials on television so you know what, I don’t have cable. That is MY choice as the mother.

  21. by Jase

    On February 1, 2011 at 2:36 pm

    it would help if the better food and the good food you should be eating was cheaper, if it were that is when i would say they give a shit, but it isnt so they dont care, plain and simple

  22. by kraso

    On February 1, 2011 at 3:27 pm

    It’s all about information, education and then voting for people who will improve people quality of life and invest in schools. If it was up to corporations all our freedoms would be completely limited, regardless of people’s health and well being. Where more than 85% of people get their news and info- from TV. What’s on the TV? Advertisers friendly news or rather no news at all and commercials- no real issues and deep analysis of anything. . . in addition to cutting money for schools and living in heavily corporately ruled country- no good result will come out of this.
    USDA could advise as much as they want…
    And By the way patriotism is not just blindly defeating the US, but actually question, doubt and speak up – this is what you can do for your country.

  23. by mommyof5

    On February 1, 2011 at 4:40 pm

    Pouring more money into schools is not the only solution. In some cases, parents are the problem not the children or the teachers. Why is it that smart parents have smart children? Because in those homes, parents emphasize that education is the way up and out, they walk the walk, they talk about issues, encourage doing more not less. Other homes show where their priorities lie: in the TV, surfing the web, playing video games. That is not to say those activities are completely bad, they have their place (okay, maybe not TV–we don’t have cable and we don’t watch TV at all).
    The best example I can think of the US as corporately ruled is insurance companies. I think
    they got their power from us investing in their programs and from the US government. So I don’t think that the government is the basket to put our eggs in.
    When I referred to doing something for your country, I did not mean patting the politicians on the back (I think they’ve all lost touch with what real American life is like)or blindly defending the US. I meant something that has already been said–get up and do something. Improve our community, help our neighbors, join a humanitarian or local political organization in other words: share our time and talents.

  24. by Shauna

    On February 1, 2011 at 8:15 pm

    Ok. Before you post a comment…do some research. Look at these government agencies and see who sponsors them (not just our tax dollars) and who is appointed to run them.

    As a nutritionist and a mother, I KNOW it is my duty (not the governments) to feed my children. No, a Happy Meal won’t kill my son if he eats it once. However, there are so many other options out there.

    You may not have time to plan a meal for your kids on the go, but instead of posting on parenting websites or checking Facebook, Google information. Get informed and find those better alternatives.

  25. by Dawn Papple

    On February 1, 2011 at 10:25 pm

    I WOULD agree with the fact that less regulation is better. My point was though that the FDA and the USDA do not have our best interests at heart. I personally do not want more laws for ANYTHING. My statement was:

    If the USDA cared about our health in the least, they would step in and outlaw most of the foods geared towards children.

    I”m not saying that laws SHOULD pass. I’m simply saying that governing agencies who are SUPPOSED to guide us and protect us, and outlaw danegrous foods (like artificial colors that other countries have deemed too toxic to feed to humans)only care about money.

    I’d rather those agencies just go away all together. I’d rather have less laws that way, when people tried to eductae eachother or tell the truth about foods, they wouldn’t end up banging their heads against a wall.

    Case in point: The FDA, encouraged the recall of Hyland’s teething tablets. When they themselves stated that there has never been an actual case of any ill effect that is clearly tied to the tablets. However, they are getting pressure from Big Pharma. A sbaby motrin sales decrease, being handed to Hyland’s, the same tablets that the FDA and APA said were nothing more than sugar pills, incapable of doing anything just a few years ago suddenly become a dangerous drug. That’s absurd. It’s money.

    Another case in point. Nongenetically modified salmon farmers were forced BY LAW to remove their bragging that their salmon wasn’t genetically modified because it gave the impression that there was something WRONG with genetically modified salmon. That’s also absurd.

    Rights of parents? Yeah. Totally. I agree. Except when the parents are being fed the worng information and when parents are being given a false sense of security by governing agencies that act like they give a crap about the people they are supposed to protect.

  26. by alj&hpj

    On February 1, 2011 at 10:25 pm

    I appreciate that the USDA has posted new ‘guidelines’, but what I really would like to see from our government is to BAN the additives that are IN most of the foods we eat today. CANCER is slowly killing us and if society would quit allowing all the corporations and useless businesses in our communities, and get more green space to allow for GROWING real food, we wouldn’t have the huge diabetes/ heart disease/ cancer issues that plague us today!
    it’s up to the parents to do their due dilligence, but it’s not quite our fault either when our government allows (and doesn’t fully disclose the truth of what’s REALLY in our food)all the negative.

  27. by shnyc

    On February 2, 2011 at 9:28 am

    The new guidelines are great. I just wish people understood the dangers of MSG, artificial sweeteners, and dyes.

  28. by jade

    On February 2, 2011 at 11:06 am

    Have you ever gone to your childs cafeteria during breakfast or lunch? Do you know what your kids are really eating? In my experience the choices are nearly all processed prepackaged foods. How do we teach our kids to eat right when those are the options they are given? I could send a lunch with them everyday, if I could afford it. I guess because we are the poor ones and get subsidized food we have to accept whats there! I think there should be a little more regulation on what is put in and how companies market their foods. They dont care about you and your family they care about the money in their pocket.

  29. by A. Miller

    On February 2, 2011 at 11:47 am

    Parents need to take a hard look at themselves and and realize that they are enabling their children’s poor eating/exercising habits. The children cannot buy the food, you as the parents do.Sso just do not buy the junk food!! Sometimes “junk food” seems cheaper and sometimes easier to prepare but a bag of apples costs just as much as many brands of chips and takes no time to prepare, you can even wash them ahead of time and leave a bowl on the counter and the kids can get their own snack.

    As a mother of three under three years old, I truly understand wanting to take the easy road- feed them junk food and let them watch TV all day, but you just cannot do it. Focus on feeding your whole family nutritious food and get up off the couch and do something. Anything is better than nothing! Everyone will benfit.

    It’s time to set the example parents! Its your responsibility to take care of your children’s health, through both nutrition and exercising, not the government’s job. Take ownership of the situation and make it better. Stop holding someone else responsible and do your job as a parent. MAKE THE EFFORT, ITS WORTH IT!!

  30. by Jen Dux

    On February 2, 2011 at 3:40 pm

    I agree. We have to be smart as parents and be examples that our children can grow up trusting. While growing up, we never went to McDonalds, there were never Coke products or sweets in the house and my mom made our lunch every day. Now as I have become a mom and wife, I don’t buy the unnecessary filler snacks and drinks at the grocery store and I make all of my son’s food. It was a real slap in the face to see baby food “mac and cheese” and “ham with ham gravy” for a five month old! And why doesn’t Gerber refrigerate their so called yogurt blends? Because it’s not real yogurt! Has anyone ever really questioned the product they are forcing moms to buy? No of course not because Gerber has made itself into a trusted household name. I have a hard time giving my child, cheese puffs and turkey links out of a jar that has been sitting on the shelf for weeks at a time. The best advice was from our pediatrician; if it makes sense then do it, if it doesn’t then don’t. To me preserved turkey links in sodium water doesn’t make sense.

  31. by Penny

    On February 3, 2011 at 3:18 am

    I totally agree that Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution is awesome! When I watched the episodes on, I could not believe the garbage that the schools feed our kids just because its cheaper, easier for them to prepare, they’re stuck in their ways and don’t see anything wrong with it! Parents need to stop indulging in crap foods and stop giving them to their kids! If the parents were stricter, then the kids would most likely eat healthier! My son only eats all Organic food and I never eat fast food ever. Why poison my body with junk like that? Eat healthy foods, take an Omega 3-6-9 fish, flax and borage oil supplement and for us women, a prenatal vitamin at all times for overall health and well-being. Heck, I even have some of the Everybody’s Fiber and Vitamin C powders that I take every now and then…I should take them daily and will strive to do so from now on…but you can get some really great quality supplements/vitamins from this company:

    Don’t drink sodas. Limit your sugar intake. Drink 1 gallon of water every day minimum, wish fresh lemon juice in it whenever possible to neutralize the acidity in your body and make it more alkaline. Do a colon cleanse…do a parasite cleanse or two…check with your doctor first, but the website link I posted has some for sale too.

  32. by Tammi

    On February 3, 2011 at 2:10 pm

    It is cheaper to make meals from scratch than to buy “prepackaged” foods… Getting started is expensive, but I have two children and I cannot afford to eat “Fast Foods” or prepackaged foods.
    Thank about it…
    I family size pre-made lasagna is what $12??
    I can make it for less and it goes farther.

    1 can tomatoes $1
    1 can tomatoe sauce $.80
    1 can $.80
    3 lasgna noodles $1
    1-1 1/2 pound meat $2-4
    cheese(s) $6 (tops)
    and spices (these get spendy, but once you have them they last forever)

    The cost is about the same, but it makes AT LEAST twice as much, and it is made to YOUR taste, Freeze it if you do not use it all!!! Then, your $12 just made TWO meals…

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