The explosion of health information and nutrition education programs has led to good progress on several fronts. Deaths from heart disease have declined and, to a slight degree, so have deaths from some cancers. On average, the intake of total fat and saturated fat has decreased. Food labeling provides much more useful information now. Restaurants offer more low-fat and low-calorie options on their menus.
Although consumption of grain products is on the rise, many grains are in the form of snacks such as corn chips and popcorn. Fewer than one-third of American children and less than one-half of adults eat the recommended 5 servings of fruits and vegetables. Overall, fat intake is decreasing (from 40 percent of calories in the late 1970s to 33 percent in the mid-1990s). However, only about a third of adults meet the "30 percent or fewer calories from fat" recommendation of nutrition experts.
Nutritionists are now assessing our progress in meeting the goals of Healthy People 2010. These efforts will include evaluating healthful behaviors in the areas of fitness and nutrition, ensuring a safe food supply, and reducing and preventing diseases such as osteoporosis, cancer, diabetes, heart disease, and stroke.
Of course, national goals are met one person at a time. Fortunately, there is a road map for achieving fitness and health. Scientists and nutrition experts have mapped out a sound plan for healthful eating and exercise based on the most current findings about nutrition.
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