Last month, First Lady Michelle Obama and Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack unveiled the federal government’s new food icon, MyPlate. MyPlate is a new generation icon with the intent to prompt consumers to think about building a healthy plate at meal times. The new icon will replace the MyPyramid image as the government’s primary food group symbol as an easy-to-understand visual cue to help consumers adopt healthy eating habits consistent with the 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans .
To combat the obesity epidemic, the National Institutes of Health is encouraging diverse scientific investigations through a new Strategic Plan for NIH Obesity Research.
More than one-third of adults in the United States and nearly 17 percent of the nation’s children are now obese, which increases a person’s chance of developing many health problems, including type 2 diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure, fatty liver disease, and some cancers. Although American obesity rates leveled off in 2007, in 2008, obesity-related medical costs were an estimated $147 billion. Government, nonprofit and community groups, businesses, health care professionals, schools, families, and individuals are taking action to address this public health problem — and research can provide the foundation for these efforts.