January 19, 2005 | By: Aimee Heald-Nielson
LEXINGTON, Ky.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture recently released its 2005 Dietary Guidelines. University of Kentucky Extension Food and Nutrition Specialist Janet Tietyen was encouraged to see that the revised guidelines are similar to a pilot Extension program called “Weight ~ The Reality Series.”

“I was glad to see the similarities,” she said. “These are things we’re trying to get people to implement in their daily lives – more fruits and vegetables and more physical activity.”

The USDA guidelines recommend 2 cups of fruit and 2.5 cups of vegetables daily, based on a 2,000-calorie diet. They also recognize five vegetable subgroups including dark green, orange, legumes, starchy vegetables, and other vegetables.

“People should aim for a variety of vegetables in their diet,” Tietyen said. “There are so many good vegetables and recipes to choose from to meet the daily recommendations.”

The guidelines also emphasize whole-grains and low-fat dairy. Tietyen said people should try to consume about three servings of low-fat dairy products each day. A side benefit may be weight loss. Whole grains and dairy products are excellent sources of fiber and calcium and both are important to healthy weight loss, she said.

Physical activity recommendations were increased from 30 minutes per day in 2000 to 60 to 90 minutes per day in 2005. Tietyen said it’s important not to feel overwhelmed by the total number of minutes recommended by the USDA.

“You have to start where you are,” she said. “It doesn’t say you have to work out for 60 to 90 minutes at a time. You can break that up into many increments during the day. Parking your car further from your destination or walking at lunch can contribute to the total. Walking up the stairs instead of taking the elevator, putting up groceries at home – so many things can add up to the daily goal.”

Tietyen believes the new guidelines are an excellent opportunity for Cooperative Extension to get a message out to Kentuckians that simple lifestyle modifications can lead to better health and weight loss. 

“We really want people to understand that making healthy choices is easier than they might think,” she said. “We want to show them simple things they can do to improve their health and their families’ health.”

Tietyen noted the Kentucky Garden Basket Web site has many recipes for vegetables that will help people meet their daily intake goals. Web site visitors may also find information about Kentucky farmers’ markets, food preservation and Kentucky grown foods.

Contact: 

Editor: Aimee Nielson 859-257-4736, ext. 267

Contact: Janet Tietyen 859-257-1812