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Posts tagged: Dietary Guidelines for Americans

SNAP Remains a Safety Net for Veterans and Families in Need

Cross posted from the disability.gov blog:

Today, I was thinking about the last entry I wrote for Disability.gov’s blog just about a year ago and considering our accomplishments in 2012 and the opportunities that are ahead for 2013.

The need for food assistance remained high in 2012, with an average of 47 million people participating in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) every month. Program participation increased in response to natural disasters, such as Hurricane Isaac in Louisiana and Hurricane Sandy in the New England states. However, overall the program grew at a slower rate and even flattened toward the end of the year. SNAP continues to be the cornerstone of the national hunger safety net by helping those in need put healthy food on the table. Read more »

Join the Conversation on Smart Snacks in Schools

School lunch staff and students enjoy the new school lunch menu created to meet the new standards at the Yorkshire Elementary School in Manassas, VA on Friday, Sept. 7, 2012. USDA photo by Lance Cheung.

School lunch staff and students enjoy the new school lunch menu created to meet the new standards at the Yorkshire Elementary School in Manassas, VA on Friday, Sept. 7, 2012. USDA photo by Lance Cheung.

USDA recently announced its “Smart Snacks in School” proposal that will help to ensure all foods and beverages sold in schools contribute to a healthy diet. The proposal offers a common sense approach to healthy eating by promoting the availability of snack foods with whole grains, low-fat dairy, fruits, vegetables or protein foods as their main ingredients, while preserving time-honored school traditions like occasional bake sales and birthday treats.

Parents and teachers work hard to instill healthy habits, and our proposal reinforces that hard work by ensuring that kids are offered only tasty, nutritious food options at school. Thanks to the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010, this year students across the country began getting healthier school meals with more fruits and vegetables, whole grains, and low-fat dairy based on scientific recommendations for nutrition. Through the Act, Congress also directed USDA to set nutrition standards for all foods sold in schools, including vending machines, school snack bars and a la carte, as a complement to the new, healthy standards for breakfast and lunch. Read more »

Happy Birthday SuperTracker!

SuperTracker turned one on December 22, 2012. In one year over 1.6 million people have registered to use SuperTracker.

SuperTracker turned one on December 22, 2012. In one year over 1.6 million people have registered to use SuperTracker.

After an exciting and successful year reaching well over a million users, SuperTracker celebrates its first birthday! With growing public interest in nutrition and health, we found that SuperTracker is the online tool many people have been waiting for to help them adopt healthful eating habits; something that is top of mind this time of year SuperTracker is an easy-to-use, tool for tracking food intake, physical activity and weight – for free!!  If you have a 2013 New Year’s resolutions to eat better, lose weight, or exercise more, then you need to be using SuperTracker. Read more »

U.S. Food Shopping Out of Sync with Nutritional Advice

A new report by the Economic Research Service reveals  that between 1998 and 2006, U.S. households spent an average of just 0.5 percent of their food budgets on vegetables, excluding  potatoes, compared with the USDA-recommended  7 percent. (Photo: Thinkstock)

A new report by the Economic Research Service reveals that between 1998 and 2006, U.S. households spent an average of just 0.5 percent of their food budgets on vegetables, excluding potatoes, compared with the USDA-recommended 7 percent. (Photo: Thinkstock)

This post is part of the Science Tuesday feature series on the USDA blog. Check back each week as we showcase stories and news from USDA’s rich science and research portfolio.

Many of our diets aren’t what they should be. Americans eat fewer fruits and vegetables than Federal nutrition guidance recommends, and we over-consume fats, added sugars, and refined grains. Health professionals warn us that the less-healthful food choices are showing up on our waistlines and in our health, contributing to increasing cases of overweight and obesity, cardiovascular disease, and diabetes. Knowing how far we stray from good dietary patterns, and whether the diets of certain segments of the population are more misaligned, can help in designing more effective programs and consumer education. Read more »

USDA’s SuperTracker Receives Award for Outstanding IT Achievement in Government

On October 24, 2012, the SuperTracker Team received the 2012 Government Computer News (GCN) Award for Outstanding IT Achievement in Government.

On October 24, 2012, the SuperTracker Team received the 2012 Government Computer News (GCN) Award for Outstanding IT Achievement in Government.

In addition to reaching over 1.4 million users, USDA’s Center for Nutrition Policy and Promotion now has something else to be proud of regarding its state-of-the-art SuperTracker.  On October 24, 2012, the SuperTracker Team received the 2012 Government Computer News (GCN) Award for Outstanding IT Achievement in Government, along with nine other awardees from local, state, and Federal governments.  The awards were presented to these government teams for their extraordinary accomplishments and significant contributions to the performance of their agencies. Read more »

Partnerships Bolster Nutrition Messaging through “Grain Chain” Videos

The USDA Center for Nutrition Policy and Promotion (CNPP) and its partners use a coordinated messaging approach to amplify the reach of themes and nutrition messages related to the 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans. Themes include Foods to Increase, Foods to Reduce, Balancing Calories, “Make half your plate fruits and vegetables” and “Avoid oversized portions.”

One recent example of this collaboration was in support of the message “Make at least half your grains whole grains.” Multiple national partners committed to promoting and supporting grains rallied together and formed a group known as the “Grain Chain.” Members included American Bakers Association, Wheat Foods Council, Grains Food Foundation, National Pasta Association, USA Rice Federation, General Mills, and Kellogg’s. The “Grain Chain” partnered to produce a series of educational “how-to” videos highlighting whole grains as well as a series of tasty recipes featuring whole grains. The videos are now available at www.ChooseMyPlate.gov. Recipes coming soon! Read more »