MyPyramid unveiled by U.S.D.A. as new dietary guidance symbol

by Josh Sosland
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WASHINGTON — In a dramatic change in how the government’s food guidance system is graphically represented, Secretary of Agriculture Mike Johanns unveiled MyPyramid this morning.

MyPyramid replaces the Food Guide Pyramid introduced in 1992. The new image, part of an Internet-based interactive system, is simpler in design than the original pyramid. The system offers more a individualized approach to diet and lifestyle than the original graphic.

"MyPyramid is about the ability of Americans to personalize their approach when choosing a healthier lifestyle that balances nutrition and exercise," Mr. Johanns said. "Many Americans can dramatically improve their overall health by making modest improvements to their diets and by incorporating regular physical activity into their daily lives."

In-depth consumer information is available at a new web site,, allowing individuals to download personalized guidance.

In addition to the personalized pyramid, based on age and activity level, the new pyramid incorporates six color bands, representing the five food groups and oils. In contrast to the 1992 pyramid which stacked the food groups on top of one another, the bands are lined up vertically from left to right, each touching the top and bottom of the MyPyramid.

According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, moderation is reflected in the narrowing of each band toward the top. "The wider base stands for foods with little or no solid fats, added sugars or caloric sweeteners," the U.S.D.A. said. "These should be selected more often to get the most nutrition from calories consumed."

Proportionality is shown by different widths of the food group bands, showing how much food a person should choose from each food group.

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