New video, infographics, and photos highlight deficiencies in the current U.S. food supply

The dietary recommendations for eating healthy have not changed much in the past few decades—eat more fruits, vegetables, and whole grains and cut back on calories, sugar, and fat. However, it might not be possible for everyone to eat this way even if they tried.

A new study, published in the November issue of the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, reveals that the food supply contains too much sodium, unhealthy fat, and added sugar and not enough fruits, vegetables, and whole grains for a balanced diet. The findings show that in order to achieve a healthy balance, the fruit supply would need to more than double and the supply of vegetables would need to increase by almost 50 percent. There would also have to be a 40 percent decrease in unhealthy fats and sugar, and more than a 50 percent decrease in sodium. Continue reading

NCCOR’s Healthy Eating Index project highlighted at public forum on dietary guidelines

The Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee (DGAC) is holding its first of five public meetings today and Friday (June 13-14) on the National Institutes of Health (NIH) campus in Bethesda, Md. The Committee’s recommendations and rationale will serve as a basis for the eighth edition of the Dietary Guidelines for Americans.

On Friday morning, National Collaborative on Childhood Obesity Research (NCCOR) members Alanna Moshfegh of the U.S. Department of Agriculture and Jill Reedy of NIH will be making presentations on the state of the American diet. Continue reading

Do fast food restaurants fall short on their health claims?

May 16, 2013, LiveScience

By Christopher Wanjek

Fast food restaurants are serving healthier options, although only marginally so, according to a study published last week in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine.

You may have known that changes were afoot in the fast food restaurants most vilified by doctors for serving unhealthy fare. McDonald’s, Burger King and others now offer salad, fruit, and skim milk. The new offerings, advertised prominently, would make one think that a trip to the local burger joint is suddenly heart-healthy, and waistline-friendly.

Not quite, said Mary Hearst, director of public health at St. Catherine University in St. Paul, Minn., and lead author on the report. Continue reading

New NCCOR project translates research into applications for the Healthy Eating Index

In April, NCCOR launched a series of new communication tools and technologies that translate and disseminate research applications of the Healthy Eating Index (HEI) for researchers, practitioners, and decision makers and ultimately highlight changes needed to enable healthier food choices for all Americans.

The HEI is a tool designed to measure diet quality—that is, how closely an eating pattern or combination of foods matches the Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommendations. It was developed by scientists at two of NCCOR’s funding partners: the U.S. Department of Agriculture Center for Nutrition Policy and Promotion; and the National Cancer Institute (NCI) Applied Research Program, part of the National Institutes of Health. Continue reading

Fast-food menu offerings vary in dietary quality, but are consistently poor

By analyzing the food menus from the top fast-food restaurant chains in America, new research published in the journal Public Health Nutrition shows that these restaurants do not offer many menu items that meet dietary guidelines for healthy eating. Even those menu items that were part of the kid’s menu or marketed specifically as healthy, still fell far short of meeting dietary recommendations for fruit, vegetables, and whole grains. Continue reading