In recent years, a narrowing view of a healthy lifestyle has focused on individual food groups or components such as fat or protein, says Mary Anne Burkman, director of programs at Dairy Council of California. “This may, in part, be contributing to an increase in diseases of nutrient deficiency like rickets and osteoporosis. We support a broader view of health and nutrition, one that values all food groups equally and includes physical activity to better serve families.”

Eating moderate amounts of a variety of nutrient-rich foods from all food groups and being physically active are keys to a healthy lifestyle, as framed by the 2005 Dietary Guidelines for Americans and USDA’s MyPyramid. In this broader view, being physically active and making healthier food choices like low-fat dairy, fruits, vegetables, whole grains and lean meats ensures the range of nutrients needed for optimal health without the extra calories that may contribute to becoming overweight.

Shopping and eating nutritiously can be challenging. However, the messages found in the Dietary Guidelines and MyPyramid can help grocery shoppers and food preparers at home make better decisions for their families, says Brian Wansink, executive director for USDA's Center for Nutrition Policy and Promotion.

A new program, “Partnering With MyPyramid: Corporate Challenge,” enables USDA to recognize and collaborate with companies and organizations whose products, programs and resources equip families with tools they need to achieve this broader view of a healthy lifestyle, and inspires other companies to implement new products or programs based on MyPyramid.

Dairy Council of California has joined the corporate challenge as a charter member, signifying that Dairy Council of California's nutrition education resources align with MyPyramid. In particular, the free Meals Matter Web site provides families with a number of tools developed by registered dietitians to put MyPyramid messages into action. The site includes a searchable recipe database, meal planner and fitness tracker to help every member of the family increase his or her physical activity and make healthier food choices such as low-fat dairy, fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean meats, fish and nuts.

For more information on Partnering With MyPyramid: Corporate Challenge, go to:

For more information on Dairy Council of California's Meals Matter family health and nutrition resource, go to:

Dairy Council of California