HBCU Writers's Project
For Immediate Release
February 08, 2011
Contact Information

Barrington Mizell
Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University

(BPRW) USDA's New Dietary Guidelines: Healthier Choices in the Black Community

(BLACK PR WIRE/FAMU-TALLAHASSEE) – In an effort to reach the goal of a healthier America, the Obama Administration and U.S. Department of Agriculture have released the latest dietary guidelines for Americans. The release of the new guidelines is the latest attempt by the government to reduce obesity in America.

“The 2010 Dietary Guidelines are being released at a time when the majority of adults and one in three children are overweight or obese, and this is a crisis that we can no longer ignore,” said Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack. “The bottom line is that most Americans need to trim our waistlines to reduce the risk of developing diet-related chronic disease.”

One of the main ailments targeted by the USDA’s new guidelines is heart disease, a sickness that affects a majority of African Americans. Bad eating habits and obesity go hand in hand and are major contributors to the number of people diagnosed with heart disease in African American communities, especially African American women.

According to a report published by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, African American women have the highest rates of being overweight or obese compared to other groups in the U.S., and about four out of five African American women are overweight or obese. In addition, African Americans account for over 25 percent of all heart disease-related deaths.

These statistics are unacceptable to some African Americans. Brittany Jackson, a 25-year-old African American Tampa Police Department dispatcher, found herself taken aback after hearing the statistics on heart disease in the black community. “It’s really a shame that our community can be affected in that way by something we can control,” said Jackson. “To lose someone to an act of violence is a sad enough, but to lose them to something that could have been prevented would definitely be more devastating.”

The USDA’s new guidelines look to reduce such incidences. Tips offered in the 2010 Dietary Guidelines include advice to “consume more healthy foods like vegetables, fruits, whole grains, fat-free and low-fat dairy products.” However, one of the most stressed points in the new guidelines is the importance of avoiding meals that are rich in sodium. Some believe the new guidelines will go a long way in fighting obesity and diet-related chronic diseases.

“We as a country are way overweight and I think these guidelines are a good first step,” said Jasmine Frank, a senior public relations student from Dayton, Ohio. “I think the problem has finally gained the recognition it deserves and now it’s up to us to take advantage.”