The U.S. Department of Agriculture and World Health Organization each released updated recommendations to encourage people to be more active and to eat less as a way to combat obesity, heart disease and certain cancers.
Recognizing that one in three children and more than two of three adults in the United States are overweight or obese, the seventh edition of “Dietary Guidelines for Americans” from the USDA’s FDA emphasizes increasing physical activity and reducing calories consumption.
With nearly a third of the world's population not physically active enough for good health, WHO is hoping to reverse that statistic and also reduce the risk of breast and colon cancers, as well as diabetes and heart disease, in its recommendations.
In its new “Global Recommendations on Physical Activity for Health,” the WHO is advising 150 minutes of moderate intensity aerobic physical activity weekly for people 18 and older. If the activity is vigorous, it should be at least 75 minutes weekly. Or one can do a combination of the two. Aerobic activity should be done in bouts of at least 10 minutes each. Additional benefits can be gained by increasing moderate activity to 300 minutes weekly or vigorous activity to 150 minutes each week. In addition, WHO recommends muscle-strengthening activities on two or more days each week.
For 5 to 17 year olds, it recommends at least 60 minutes of moderate to vigorous intensity physical activity each day. For those older than 64, modifications may be necessary based on abilities.
In the recent FDA release, there are 23 key nutrition recommendations for the general population and six additional recommendations for specific population groups, such as women who are pregnant and those who are 51 and older. A “next generation” Food Pyramid will be released in the next few months, the groups said.
Among the dietary recommendations (www.dietaryguidelines.gov) are: enjoy your food, but eat less; avoid oversized portions; lower sodium intake; make half your plate fruits and vegetables; and drink water instead of sugary drinks. The new guidelines point to processed foods as the primary source of salt overconsumption.
"We need to eat smarter," Thomas Pearson, a doctor who directs the Rochester Prevention Research Center and who served on the advisory committee that helped develop the guidelines, said in a Wall Street Journal article. "Generally, we need to eat less, and understand the good choices we can make in our daily activity."