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New Dietary Guidelines Report Focuses on Obesity
Public Comments Accepted Through July 15
By News Staff
The advisory report says the number of deaths related to poor diet and physical inactivity is increasing and may soon overtake tobacco as the leading cause of death in the United States.
"On average, Americans of all ages consume too few vegetables, fruits, high-fiber whole grains, low-fat milk and milk products, and seafood, and they eat too much added sugars, solid fats, refined grains and sodium," the report says.
FDA Looking for Comments on Menu Regulations
Section 4205 of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act sets new federal requirements for foods sold at certain restaurants, coffee shops, delis, movie theaters, bakeries, ice cream shops and in vending machines. Specifically, the law requires food establishments that are part of a chain with 20 or more locations that offer substantially the same menu items to list calorie content information on menus and menu boards, including drive-through menu boards.
Other nutrition information -- total calories, total fat, saturated fat, cholesterol, sodium, total carbohydrates, complex carbohydrates, sugars, dietary fiber and total protein -- must be made available in writing on request. The act also requires vending machine operators who own or operate 20 or more machines to disclose the calorie content of their items.
Comments can be submitted online through Sept 7.
The committee summarized its recommendations by highlighting the following four priorities:
- reduce overweight and obesity by reducing overall calorie intake and increasing physical activity;
- shift food intake patterns to a more plant-based diet that emphasizes vegetables, cooked dry beans and peas, fruits, whole grains, nuts, and seeds and to one that emphasizes increased intake of seafood and fat-free and low-fat milk and milk products and consumption of only moderate amounts of lean meats, poultry and eggs;
- significantly reduce intake of foods containing added sugars and solid fats;
- reduce sodium intake;
- eat fewer refined grains, especially those in foods with added sugar, solid fat and sodium; and
- meet the 2008 Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans issued by HHS.
The committee also advised Americans to consume less than 7 percent of their calories from saturated fat, down from existing recommendations of less than 10 percent of calories from saturated fats.
Committee members said Americans consume less than the recommended amount of several vitamins and minerals, but they specifically identified fiber, potassium, vitamin D and calcium as items of concern because of evidence that low intake is directly related to important health issues.
The committee reviewed nearly 2,000 research articles in the process of answering nearly 200 questions they received in the areas of nutrient adequacy; energy balance and weight management; fatty acids and cholesterol; carbohydrates and protein; sodium, potassium and water; alcohol; and food safety and technology.
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More From AAFP
K-O: Recommendations for Clinical Preventive Services (scroll down to "Obesity" entries)
HHS: 2008 Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans
USDA: Dietary Guidelines for Americans, 2010