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MyPlate for Older Adults is colorful and balanced

Posted:  Tuesday, March 08, 2016

Smart food choice is important for healthy aging! The nutritionists from Jean Mayer U. S. Department of Agriculture Human Nutrition Research Centre on Aging (USDA HNRCA) at Tufts University have updated the MyPlate for Older Adults icon with support from AARP Foundation. The updated “MyPlate” icon provides guidance about healthy diet and lifestyle to older adults.

The latest update of MyPlate for Older Adults icon is compliant with the U.S. government’s 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans. The icon illustrates healthy eating pattern by the inclusion of 50% of fruits and vegetables, 25% whole grains/grains and 25% protein-rich foods in the diet. Apart from these, the icon also includes images of good sources of fluid, healthy fats, and salt substitutes.

The MyPlate for Older Adults icon also ensures inclusion of all forms of foods, focussing on the personal preferences, availability, and cultural backgrounds of the users. The website accompanying the icon offers shopping tips and recipes. The icon also promotes physical activity for older adults, so that they stay fit and active. It encourages engaging in activities such as regular walking, cycling, or swimming.

Alice Lichtenstein, D.Sc., Senior Scientist and Director of the Cardiovascular Nutrition Laboratory at the USDA HNRCA, who has served as Vice Chair on the 2015 Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee, said, "It is never too late to make smart changes in your diet. Shifting towards healthier food choices can improve symptoms or decrease risk for developing chronic diseases such as type 2 diabetes, hypertension and heart disease - all of which are more common in older than younger adults."

Updated “MyPlate” icon for older adults serves as a dietary guide, helps in making food choices, offers suggestions to improve their lifestyle, and reduce the risk of developing disease and disability with regular exercise. The website also offers helpful links to studies from researchers at the USDA HNRCA, that are relevant for older adults. The icon and an accompanying website can be viewed at

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