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Alumna helps unveil healthy lifestyle standards

By Amy Agronis on January 31, 2005 in University

UC Davis alumna and U.S. Dept. of Agriculture Secretary Ann Veneman was quoted widely in broadcast and print media with the Jan. 12 release of the Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2005. Posted at http://www.healthierus.gov/dietaryguidelines/, the report places emphasis on reducing calorie consumption and increasing physical activity.

The guidelines have been published jointly every five years since 1980 by the Department of Health and Human Services and the USDA and serve as the basis for federal food and nutrition education programs.

Almost two-thirds of Americans are overweight or obese, and more than half get too little physical activity, the report says.

Key Recommendations include an emphasis on consuming whole grains and about 3 cups per day of fat-free or low-fat milk or equivalent dairy products.

To reduce the risk of chronic disease, adults are encouraged to: engage in at least 30 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity most days of the week; and to sustain weight loss in adulthood by participating in 60 to 90 minutes of daily moderate-intensity activity.

Total fat intake should be kept between 20 to 35 percent of calories, with most fats coming from sources such as fish, nuts and vegetable oils, the report says.

"Taken together," Veneman said, "the recommendations will help consumers make smart choices from every food group, get the most nutrition out of the calories consumed and find a balance between eating and physical activity."

In January, Veneman also helped launch an interactive nutrition Web site -- with research from multiple agencies -- designed to help people find answers to nutrition and food related questions, including dietary supplements, fitness, carbohydrate intake and how to keep food safe. For details, see http://www.nutrition.gov.

"Health solutions begin with the availability of reliable nutrition and physical activity information the public can use to make good health choices and maintain a healthy weight," Veneman said.

Veneman also made headlines recently when U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan named her as the new head of the United Nations Children's Fund, better known as UNICEF. She plans to leave her Secretary of Agriculture post this spring.

Media contact(s)

Amy Agronis, Dateline, (530) 752-1932, abagronis@ucdavis.edu

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