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Nutrition News You Can Use

By , SparkPeople Blogger
Almost daily, I get e-mail alerts or updates related to nutrition information in the news. Sometimes it is information about new study findings and other times it is information about school lunches or new diet products.

From time to time, the information is terrific for a complete blog. Other times they are pieces of information that do not provide complete blog topics but are still important things for our readers to be aware of and informed about. To keep you "in the know," I will offer nutrition news updates every so often to help you stay informed about interesting topics. Here are a few things that have caught my eye recently.
  • According to USA Today, soon there will no longer be a need to turn to the back of your Coke bottle or can to know how many calories you are about to consume. Later this year, calories-per-serving and servings-per-container information will be printed on the front of the container for products purchased in the US and Canada. This packaging update is expected to extend to all beverages sold by the Coca-Cola Company by 2011.
  • The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recently released the 2009 State Indicator Report on Fruits and Vegetables which outlines national and state-specific information related to fruit and vegetable consumption. Surprisingly, none of the states of the U.S. are meeting national consumption objectives for fruits and vegetables. The Healthy People 2010 objectives aim for "at least 75 percent of Americans to eat the recommended two or more daily servings of fruit, and for at least 50 percent of Americans to eat the recommended three or more servings of vegetables daily". The CDC survey results indicate that Americans are not even close to these objectives. If this is an area of your diet that you have trouble meeting your personal goals, be creative and find easy ways to eat 5 fruits and veggies each day. You can also use the USDA farmers market search to find one of over 4,800 farmers markets throughout the United States for locally grown produce.
  • As of October 1, 2009, the USDA has instituted changes to the WIC (Women, Infants and Children) program. This change is the first since the 1970's and has been made to expand the supplemental food packages permitted with food vouchers. WIC recipients are provided vouchers that can be used to purchase infant formula and cereal as well as eggs, dairy, juice, peanut butter and dried beans. The new changes will increase monthly allotments so recipients can also purchase whole grains, produce, canned beans, canned fish, baby food and tortillas. This change has been desired for many years and now brings low-income pregnant woman and children under the age of five healthier food options for more optimal health.
  • While it may not be news to learn there is interest in reducing obesity especially in children, learning who has started a new foundation to promote it just might be. Some of the most unlikely organizations, many large food-manufacturing companies, have formed the Healthy Weight Commitment Foundation. Yep, more than forty companies and non-profit organizations such as Nestle USA, ConAgra Foods, Kraft Foods Inc., Coca-Cola Co., PepsiCo Inc., Hershey Co., Sara Lee Corp. and other manufactures have launched the new foundation. The most interesting part of this new foundation surrounds their intent, "to help consumers lead healthier lives by making energy balance – calories in balanced with calories out – a daily habit" There doesn't seem to be a focus on reducing energy in but simply encouraging energy out through exercise and getting children to be more active. Participants may also make changes to packaging and labeling (like Coca-Cola listed above) to help consumers "manage their calorie intake", offering additional support and resources to their employees to help them manage their weight and public education and awareness campaigns targeted at children ages six to eleven and their families. With a stated mission "to try to help reduce obesity – especially childhood obesity – by 2015", perhaps this new foundation is more about marketing than it is about a solution.

Which of these news stories provide information most helpful to you? Where do you find helpful nutrition news?

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