Most of us know of nothing other than the food pyramid when conjuring up images depicting a proper diet. But the truth is that the classic food pyramid wasn’t implemented until 1992 by the United States Department of Agriculture. Until then, the government issued healthy eating advice using an array of informational methods, mostly imagery meant to encourage younger people to eat responsibly. Yet one fact has remained consistent through every attempt at nutritional awareness at the federal level to date: it’s confusing.
The food pyramid was so confusing, apparently, that many people mistook and continue to mistake the placement of fats at the top as a sign of their priority in the diet. Maybe that’s why there are so many obese people in the United States these days?
At any rate, in addition to the major changes in medical billing and other aspects of health informatics, the federal government is looking to overhaul nutritional awareness measures yet again. Since a 2005 revamping of the food pyramid didn’t do much besides confuse the public further, they’ve decided to ditch the gimmick altogether and start from scratch.
Ladies and gentlemen, meet MyPlate.
MyPlate replaces the food pyramid, and is a simple image depicting the size of certain food group portions on your plate as they’d be if you were following the suggestions of the medical community. Like a pie graph so to speak, MyPlate simply divides fruits, grains, diary, vegetables, and protein into sections of a plate and a small side bowl. These slices depict how much of each you should be consuming in relation to one other at every meal.
Despite being created and dispersed by the Department of Agriculture, MyPlate awareness is part of President Obama’s Let’s Move push to get America off global leader boards of obesity. For instance, the President and his wife First Lady Michelle Obama were proponents early on in his term of the idea that no meal should ever be larger than your balled-up fist.
It’s common sense, easy-to-remember nutritional facts and tips like these that the government hopes the public will respond to. Due to the United States’ obsession with losing weight, it’s an industry currently worth nearly $61 billion dollars. We are obviously very concerned with losing weight, yet remain incapable of it on a massive scale. The government believes much of this has to do with limited information and public awareness regarding how to eat properly and stay fit.
Will MyPlate do the trick? It’ll surely take more than that. But as far as providing the public with an easy-to-understand guide to meal health, it’s a great way to start the movement.
This is a guest post by Jessica Wagner, a freelancer writer from San Diego, CA.