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Obesity & My Plate: September 18, 2011

It’s been three months since the government updated its dietary guidelines and unveiled a new outline for health eating called: My Plate.

Weight problems are nothing to be taken lightly. About 2/3 of Americans are overweight and the obesity rate has ballooned from 15% to 30%. The added pounds putting pressure on our health.

“The foundations for healthy living and to avoid the major things that kill people have to do with good daily nutrition; healthy nutrition and daily exercise,” says Dr. Sal Lacagnina, Vice President of Wellness for Lee Memorial Health System.

The USDA served up a new dietary guideline in June, exchanging the food pyramid with a food plate.

“If you look at a plate, you would divide a plate in four,” explains clinical dietitian Marjorie Chutkan. “A quarter of that plate would be fruits, a quarter is vegetables, a quarter is grains and a quarter is meats.”

But that’s not how we’re eating.

“Most times when you look at a plate its half meat, half grain and there’s no fruits, no vegetables,” Chutkan says.

Emphasis on fruits and vegetables was the first phase of the My Plate campaign. The next takes on the dietary heavy-weight: portion control.

“Generally we recommend about 5 to 6 ounces of protein for the day and then your grains can be anywhere to about 6 to 8 ounces.” says Chutkan.

Eating the right stuff and less of it, can better your health and may lengthen your life according to Dr. Lacagnina.

“You don’t have to get heart disease you don’t have to get strokes you don’t have to get diabetes but you just have to be willing to really live a healthy lifestyle.”