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Goodbye Food Pyramid, Hello USDA Dinner Plate

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By Doug Powers  •  June 2, 2011 12:58 PM

**Written by Doug Powers

Today, a relatively useless government chart will be replaced by a similarly useless but easier to understand chart:

(CNN) — Remember the food pyramid, the old symbol that showed us what a healthy diet looked like?

Well, forget it.

First lady Michelle Obama and several other officials will unveil a new plate-shaped food icon Thursday that “will serve as a reminder to help consumers make healthier food choices,” the White House said. .

Obama will be joined by Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack and Surgeon General Regina Benjamin during the event at the auditorium in the Department of Agriculture.

A Department of Agriculture statement, without describing the new icon, said it will be “an easy-to-understand visual cue to help consumers adopt healthy eating habits.”

Here’s the food pyramid’s replacement, the “Dinner Plate”:

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In some circles the new chart is also referred to as “Michelle O’s Hierarchy of Feeds.”

When it comes to getting our minds focused on healthy food, nothing does the trick as well as a pie chart (though to me it looks as if the USDA has put fruits, vegetables, protein and grains in the crosshairs).

The cost? I knew you were going to ask that:

Dr. Post said the U.S.D.A. had spent about $2 million to develop and promote the logo, including conducting research and focus groups and creating a Web site. Some of that money will also be used for the first year of a campaign to publicize the image. He said the agency would use the plate to get across several basic nutritional messages, including urging consumers to eat smaller portions, switch to low-fat or fat-free milk and drink water instead of sugary drinks.

So it’s pretty much a “Let’s Move” redundancy. When money is no object you can’t have too many backup systems.

If they really want to do kids a favor they’ll come up with an instructive chart on how the government’s wasting money and bankrupting their future.

**Written by Doug Powers

Twitter @ThePowersThatBe

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Categories: Education, Feature Story, Health care, Michelle Obama

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