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By Marion Nestle Laura Korth.  Eating Right Pyramid  Created in 1991  Hierarchical: most daily servings from grain, vegetable, and fruit and less from.

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Presentation on theme: "By Marion Nestle Laura Korth.  Eating Right Pyramid  Created in 1991  Hierarchical: most daily servings from grain, vegetable, and fruit and less from."— Presentation transcript:

1 By Marion Nestle Laura Korth

2  Eating Right Pyramid  Created in 1991  Hierarchical: most daily servings from grain, vegetable, and fruit and less from meat and dairy  Secretary of USDA Edward R. Madigan blocked printing because it was “confusing to children”  Pressure from meat industry  Meat and dairy industries complained that their products were being stigmatized

3   USDA spent almost a million dollars on research and released a new pyramid  Minor changes: name, placement of serving sizes, and size meat serving went from 4-6oz to 5-7oz  Meat and dairy industries were appeased Food Guide Pyramid

4   USDA’s conflict of interest:  protecting agriculture  Advise public about diet and health  Undue Influence of lobbyists in this area and other areas in federal policy decisions Two Major Issues

5   Mid 1970s: Congress under pressure to support health promotion to reduce health care costs  USDA and Department of Health, Education, and Welfare (DHEW) competed to control nutrition education and research  1977 Farm Bill (PL ): Congress granted shared responsibility to USDA and DHEW  1988: House Appropriations Committee forced the two to issue consistent dietary advice favorable to agriculture  To prevent Dept. of Heath and Human Services (DHHS) issuing advice adverse to agriculture  DHHS argued that their agencies should be in charge, but Congress still favored the USDA  Food and Drug Administration (FDA)  Centers for Disease Control (CDC)  National Institutes of Health (NIH)  Led to conflict of interest because dietary advice increasingly meant eating less, which was unfavorable towards agriculture USDA’s Conflict: Background

6   1980 Dietary Guidelines  referred to nutrients, not to foods that contain them  Hard to understand by public  USDA’s Human Nutrition Information Service (HNIS) wanted a new guide to establish a research basis to conduct study to determine optimal servings Origins of the Pyramid

7   Established nutritional goals, defined food groups, assigned serving sizes and proportions  1984: used this information in the Food Wheel for the American Red Cross  6-11 grains, 2-4 fruits, 3-5 vegetables, 2-3 each meat and dairy, moderation of sweets, fats, and alcohol  Difficult to interpret and cluttered  Used for years in many publications  1988: Contracted with Washington office, Porter-Novelli, to create a new design easier to understand  Equilateral triangle with horizontal rows Origins of the Pyramid: HNIS

8   1990 Dietary Guidelines incorporated the Pyramid’s serving numbers, granting them status as official components of federal nutrition policy  Sent to many publishers and presented at meetings—it was no secret  Fully cleared for publication at every political level within USDA  HNIS expected Pyramid to be published April, 1991 Origins of the Pyramid

9   April 10 th : Front page news in New York Times : The Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM) asked USDA to make the new food groups vegetarian—fruits, grains, vegetables, and legumes—and meat and dairy to be minor options  Protests followed and some argued a “potentially dangerous” diet is disguised as animal-rights agenda  April 13 th : Washington Post article praising the Pyramid and saying it is a “real mark of progress”  No longer gives impression meat and dairy are most important  Pyramid better for health and wellbeing  April 15 th : During Cattleman’s meeting with Secretary Madigan, they complained:  Pyramid would cause people to eat less meat  Meat should not be displayed so close to sugars and fats Toppling the Pyramid: A Bad Luck Streak

10   April 27 th : USDA spokeswoman confirmed the Pyramid had been “killed”  Denied that industry complaints were reason, it was because it was too confusing for children Toppling the Pyramid

11   Press educated the public  Many organizations sent protest letters to USDA, demanded responsibility transferred from USDA to DHHS, and demanded USDA’s records on Pyramid  National press wrote stories about USDA’s favoritism towards corporate interests  US Today challenged children to draw symbols for a healthful diet  Well-publicized controversy hit USDA hard  Exclude HNIS staff from Pyramid work  Secretary Madigan:  Pyramid was premature and not tested  Pyramid was not cancelled due to pressure from meat and dairy industries  Conflicting stories from staff: it was well-tested and cleared  These misunderstandings reinforced skepticism Defending the Pyramid

12   USDA now had to conduct the “missing” research  Bell Associates hired to test Pyramid against other graphics  Used pyramids, bowls, pie charts, and shopping carts  Narrowed down to bowls and pyramids  No significant difference between effectiveness  Analyze data again with a scoring system Renegotiating the Research

13   April 1992: A year after withdrawal, USDA’s Food Guide Pyramid was released  Serving size of meat was increased  Secretary Madigan: Pyramid would no longer mislead people into thinking some foods are more important or better for you than others  DHHS might have influenced decision because of contribution to costs of research  August 1992: New version of Pyramid released without USDA’s name because of conflict Releasing the “New” Pyramid

14   Substantiated by research, reviewed by experts, understood by consumers, and approved by USDA  Pyramid design made it clear that food groups are hierarchical  Press highlighted conflicts of interest in USDA and criticized lobbyists role in influencing federal policy  Delays and press brought enormous publicity  Pyramid is widely used and best-recognized nutrition education device ever created in U.S.  Pyramid serving sizes became standard  Effectiveness is questionable because ice cream and cheese consumption increased Survival of the Pyramid: Implications

15   As of June, 2011: USDA has replaced the Pyramid with a plate


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