As student dieters and health fanatics begin their New Year’s dietary resolutions they may find themselves revamping their plan as the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) modifies its traditional Food Guide Pyramid.
"I was not aware of the new changes in the Food Guide Pyramid,” said Britney Norman, radio television and film major at Howard University in Washington.
“However, as a freshman just entering college I am conscientious of the need for healthy eating and exercise, I have begun to cut out a lot of carbohydrates and started to pay attention to the nutritional content of what I eat.”
The Food Guide Pyramid, introduced in 1992, served as a general dietary outline for individuals to follow in their quest for fit and healthier lifestyles
The new plan, which will be unveiled in a few months, consists of 12 new diet plans that cater to people of different ages, gender, and size groups.
Changes in the new food pyramid encourage individuals to consume nine servings of fruits and vegetables daily, three cups of fat-free or low-fat milk, to limit sodium intake to a teaspoon per day, and to exercise at least 30 minutes daily.
Tommy Thompson, former secretary for Health and Human Services (HHS), said in a press release: "These new dietary guidelines represent our best science-based advice to help Americans live healthier and longer lives. The report gives action steps to reach achievable goals in weight control, stronger muscles and bones, and balanced nutrition to help prevent chronic diseases such as heart disease, diabetes and some cancers.”
Despite attempts by the USDA, the FDA and other food agencies to promote healthier lifestyles, America’s weight issue has continued to grow.
“America has a weight problem, so anything that can be done to remedy the problem is good,” said Tracee Tomlinfon, a senior economics major at Spelman College in Atlanta.
Tomlinfon, like other college students across the country, is not oblivious to the fact that more Americans are leading unhealthy, poor dietary lifestyles.
The reality of what can happen to your weight because of changes in lifestyle, over-indulgence, neglect and stress is all too evident to college students around the country who are confronted with the issue of excessive weight gain after they arrive at college.
The stigma associated with the “freshman 15” has many college students flocking to the gym and closely monitoring their food intake.
“I just started gym membership,” said Jenais Miller, a junior biology major at Xavier University in New Orleans. “I exercise three times a week, and try to stay away from fried foods.”
Miller also said that she eats fruits and vegetables and drink lots of water everyday.
Former Secretary Thompson said “promoting good dietary habits is key to reducing the growing problems of obesity and physical inactivity, and to gaining the health benefits that come from a nutritionally balanced diet.”
For more information on the Dietary Guide for Americans 2005, visit the USDA website at http://www.healthierus.gov/dietaryguidelines/.