“Obesity is ‘the single greatest threat to public health in this century,’ an expert panel declared in a report Tuesday that urges Americans to slash calories and increase their physical activity. An advisory committee for the 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans calls on people to cut back on added sugars and solid fats (butter, marbled meats) and to follow a more nutrient-rich, plant-based diet. The report is based on the latest scientific evidence and was prepared by a 13-member panel of national nutrition and health experts. The public now has 30 days to comment at www.dietaryguidelines.gov. The final 2010 dietary guidelines will be released later this year by the U.S. Department of Agriculture and Department of Health and Human Services. About two-thirds of adults and one-third of children in the United States are overweight or obese. The advisory committee highlighted four major steps:
•Reduce excess weight and obesity by cutting calorie intake and increasing physical activity.
•Shift to a more plant-based diet that emphasizes vegetables, cooked dry beans and peas, fruits, whole grains, nuts and seeds. Increase the intake of seafood and fat-free and low-fat milk and milk products, and eat only moderate amounts of lean meats, poultry and eggs.
•Significantly reduce intake of foods containing added sugars and solid fats, which contribute about 35% of the calories in the American diet. Cut sodium intake gradually to 1,500 milligrams a day and lower intake of refined grains, especially those with added sugar, solid fat and sodium.
•Meet the 2008 Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans. Those recommend that adults get at least 2½ hours of moderate-intensity physical activity each week, such as brisk walking, or 1¼ hours of a vigorous-intensity activity, such as jogging or swimming laps, or a combination of the two types. Children and teens should do an hour or more of moderate-intensity to vigorous physical activity each day.”