Aim, Build, Choose: For Good Health

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Eating is one of life's greatest pleasures. Since there are many foods and many ways to build a healthy diet and lifestyle, there is lots of room for choice. Use this booklet to help you and your family find ways to enjoy food while taking action for good health. 

This booklet carries three basic messages—the ABC's for your health and that of your family:

     triangle aim logo Aim for fitness.

     square build logo Build a healthy base.

     circle choose logo Choose sensibly.

Ten guidelines point the way to good health. These guidelines are intended for healthy children (ages 2 years and older) and adults of any age.

Aim for fitness

Aim for a healthy weight.

Be physically active each day.

Following these two guidelines will help keep you and your family healthy and fit. Healthy eating and regular physical activity enable people of all ages to work productively, enjoy life, and feel their best. They also help children grow, develop, and do well in school.

Build a healthy base

  • Let the Pyramid guide your food choices.

  • Choose a variety of grains daily, especially whole grains.

  • Choose a variety of fruits and vegetables daily.

  • Keep food safe to eat.

Following these four guidelines builds a base for healthy eating. Let the Food Guide Pyramid guide you so that you get the nutrients your body needs each day. Make grains, fruits, and vegetables the foundation of your meals. This forms a base for good nutrition and good health and may reduce your risk of certain chronic diseases. Be flexible and adventurous—try new choices from these three groups in place of some less nutritious or higher calorie foods you usually eat. Whatever you eat, always take steps to keep your food safe to eat.

Choose sensibly

  • Choose a diet that is low in saturated fat and cholesterol and moderate in total fat.

  • Choose beverages and foods to moderate your intake of sugars.

  • Choose and prepare foods with less salt.

  • If you drink alcoholic beverages, do so in moderation.

These four guidelines help you make sensible choices that promote health and reduce the risk of certain chronic diseases. You can enjoy all foods as part of a healthy diet as long as you don't overdo it on fat (especially saturated fat), sugars, salt, and alcohol. Read labels to identify foods that are higher in saturated fats, sugars, and salt (sodium).

Aim, Build, Choose—for Good Health

By following all of the guidelines in this booklet, you can promote your health and reduce your risk for chronic diseases such as heart disease, certain types of cancer, diabetes, stroke, and osteoporosis. These diseases are leading causes of death and disability among Americans. Good diets can also reduce major risk factors for chronic disease—such as obesity, high blood pressure, and high blood cholesterol. Your food choices, your lifestyle, your environment, and your family history all affect your well-being. It is important for everyone to follow the 10 Dietary Guidelines in this booklet. If you are at higher risk for a chronic disease, it is especially important. So find out your family history of disease and your other risk factors for disease (see box 2) to make more informed decisions about how to improve your health.

Together, the 10 guidelines in this booklet will help you build healthful eating patterns and take action for good health. This booklet tells you the reason each guideline is important and gives tips for following the guidelines. Use this booklet to find out some of the many ways to aim for fitness, to build a healthy base, and to choose sensibly.

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