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pressure through programs of professional, patient, and public education. The NHBPEP published scientific reviews and recommendations in 1972, 1993, and 1995 and cosponsored a large national public information-gathering workshop in 1994 with other federal agencies (NHLBI, 1996). Auxiliary activities of the NHBPEP included the production of fact sheets, pamphlets, and brochures dealing with lifestyle changes, planning kits, posters and print ads, radio messages, and working group reports. More recently, scientific reviews, recommendations about sodium reduction, and auxiliary outreach activities have been part of the 1997 and 2003 activities of the Joint National Committee on Prevention, Detection, Evaluation, and Treatment of High Blood Pressure. Partnerships with state, local, and community-based organizations formed the basis for the recent development and dissemination of educational materials and the production of broadcast-ready public service announcements about fighting high blood pressure through dietary changes.

Initiated in 1980 by congressional mandate, the Dietary Guidelines for Americans provide science-based guidance to promote health and reduce risk for major chronic diseases through diet and physical activity. The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) jointly sponsor the development of Dietary Guidelines for Americans, including the convening of an expert advisory committee. The recommendations are regularly revised and updated on a 5-year cycle; to date, six editions of the Dietary Guidelines for Americans have been published. Currently, an expert advisory committee is reviewing the science in preparation for the seventh edition. Since the document was first published in 1980, every edition has contained recommendations for Americans related to reduction in and moderation of sodium intake, but quantitative recommendations were not included until the 2005 edition. To assist consumers in implementing the Dietary Guidelines for Americans through informed food choices, USDA developed the MyPyramid program,1 which is one of its major consumer initiatives for dietary change. Implementation of the sodium recommendations as an area of focus was particularly challenging. To help consumers meet recommendations from the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, USDA provides a menu planning program on its website2 that allows individuals to enter information about the foods they consume and to compare their daily food intake with Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommendations. However, sodium as an area of focus is not included. That is, sodium levels are not factored into the MyPyramid

1

Available online: http://www.mypyramid.gov (accessed November 16, 2009).

2

Available online: http://www.mypyramidtracker.gov/planner/ (accessed November 16, 2009).



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