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Posted February 2016

Every five years, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (USDHHS) and the U. S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) jointly publish a report containing nutritional dietary information and guidelines for the general public. The new guidelines were published in December 2015 and are now available as the 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans.

New Overarching Guidelines

The Dietary Guidelines are designed "to help all individuals ages 2 years and older and their families consume a healthy, nutritionally adequate diet" (USDHHS/USDA, 2015). They add to previous guidelines by providing five overarching guidelines:

  1. Follow a healthy eating pattern across the lifespan. All food and beverage choices matter. Choose a healthy eating pattern at an appropriate calorie level to help achieve and maintain a healthy body weight, support nutrient adequacy, and reduce the risk of chronic disease.
  2. Focus on variety, nutrient density, and amount. To meet nutrient needs within calorie limits, choose a variety of nutrient-dense foods across and within all food groups in recommended amounts.
  3. Limit calories from added sugars and saturated fats, and reduce sodium intake. Consume an eating pattern low in added sugars, saturated fats, and sodium. Cut back on foods and beverages higher in these components to amounts that fit within healthy eating patterns.
  4. Shift to healthier food and beverage choices. Choose nutrient-dense foods and beverages across and within all food groups in place of less healthy choices. Consider cultural and personal preferences to make these shifts easier to accomplish and maintain.
  5. Support healthy eating patterns for all. Everyone has a role in helping to create and support healthy eating patterns in multiple settings nationwide, from home to school to work to communities.

Importance of Physical Activity

The USDHHS/USDA report acknowledges the importance of physical activity as a healthy lifestyle that accompanies healthy eating in promoting healthy living. The report notes that "a large body of evidence now shows that healthy eating patterns and regular physical activity can help people achieve and maintain good health and reduce the risk of chronic disease throughout all stages of the lifespan" (USDHHS/USDA, 2015).


Unlike previous guidelines that have introduced a new model for healthy eating with each new revision, the 2015 report retains MyPlate as the model for healthy eating (see chapter 3 of the guidelines).


U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and U.S. Department of Agriculture. 2015–2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans. 8th Edition. December 2015. Available at


When referencing this update, feel free to use the following citation:
Corbin, C.B. (February 2016). New Dietary Guidelines (2015-2020). Posted on

The 2016 Shape of the Nation™ provides a look at the state of physical education in the United States. In addition to providing information about the health benefits of physical activity for youth, the report includes recommendations for action, information for promoting policies favorable to physical education in schools, and state-by-state summaries of policies relating to physical education programs.

An executive summary of the report is available at:

The full report is available at:

Posted May 2016

Chuck Corbin, co-author of Fitness for Life, is one of five recipients of the 2016 Lifetime Achievement Awards from the President's Council on Fitness, Sports and Nutrition. Presented annually since 2007, the Lifetime Achievement Award honors individuals whose careers have greatly contributed to the advancement or promotion of physical activity, fitness, sports and nutrition-related programs nationwide. Recipients are selected by the Council’s members based on the span and scope of their career, the estimated number of lives they have touched, and the impact of their legacy.

Posted May 2016

On May 20, 2016, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) ". . . finalized the new Nutrition Facts label for packaged foods to reflect new scientific information, including the link between diet and chronic diseases such as obesity and heart disease. The new label will make it easier for consumers to make better informed food choices." The look of the new label will be similar to the current design that has been used for the past 20 years. Major changes in the new label are shown in the figure below.

FDA Updated Food Label

Students and teachers are encouraged to compare the current labels (in your textbook) to the new labels. Large manufacturers will have until July 2018 to begin using the new labels. Small manufacturers will have until July 2019 to begin using the labels. More information, including answers to questions about the new labels, is available at the website below. All quotes and the figure shown above are also from this site.


When referencing this update, feel free to use the following citation: Corbin, C.B. (May 2016). FDA Updates Food Labels. Posted on

Posted May 2016

In May 2016, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) ". . . extended its authority over all tobacco products to include e-cigarettes. Previously, the FDA regulated cigarettes, cigarette tobacco, roll-your-own tobacco and smokeless tobacco, but in 2016, the FDA finalized a rule – Deeming Tobacco Products To Be Subject to the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act – which extends the FDA's authority to include the regulation of electronic nicotine delivery systems (such as e-cigarettes and vape pens), all cigars, hookah (waterpipe) tobacco, pipe tobacco and nicotine gels, among others."

The FDA noted that "tobacco use is the single largest preventable cause of disease and death in the United States. As part of its goal to improve public health and protect future generations from the risks of tobacco use, the FDA has extended its authority to cover all products that meet the definition of tobacco products." The decision to include e-cigarettes as regulated products gives the FDA authority to require health warning labels and ban sales to minors. In addition, the decision requires new e-cigarette products to get FDA approval before being marketed. The new authority also allows the FDA to "help prevent misleading claims" and "evaluate the ingredients" of the products. The new rules go into effect on August 8, 2016.

More information is available at the websites below. All quotes in this article are from the first website.

Source When referencing this update, feel free to use the following citation: Corbin, C.B. (May 2016). FDA and E-Cigarettes. Posted on

The Zika virus, first identified in 1947, has recently become a worldwide threat. It is not described in your text because it did not become a major public health problem until 2015. This update includes basic information about Zika abstracted from the following CDC websites. Access either of the two websites to get additional information about Zika.


What is Zika?

Zika virus disease is caused by the Zika virus, which is spread to people primarily through the bite of an infected mosquito (Aedes aegypti and Aedes albopictus). The illness is usually mild with symptoms lasting up to a week, and many people do not have symptoms or will have only mild symptoms. However, Zika virus infection during pregnancy can cause a serious birth defect called microcephaly and other severe brain defects (CDC website 1).

How do people get infected with Zika?

Zika is spread to people primarily through the bite of an infected Aedes species mosquito (Aedes aegypti and Aedes albopictus). A pregnant woman can pass Zika to her fetus during pregnancy or around the time of birth (CDC website 1). Also, a person with Zika can pass it to his or her sex partners. People who have traveled to or live in places with Zika should protect themselves by preventing mosquito bites and sexual transmission of Zika (CDC website 1).

What can you do to prevent Zika?

The best way to prevent Zika is to protect yourself and your family from mosquito bites:

Zika can be spread by infected individuals to their sex partners. People whose sex partners have traveled to or live in an area with Zika can prevent Zika by using condoms and other barrier methods correctly every time they have sex or by not having sex (CDC website 1).

Source: C. B. Corbin, (August 2016) Based on information from web sites above.

On page 137 of chapter 8, under the heading "Protein," the first sentence of the second paragraph reads "Carbohydrate is also used to generate and repair tissue." The sentence should read "Protein is also used to generate and repair tissue." We are updating the print book and e-books.

Dr. Vivek H. Murthy, U. S. Surgeon General, issued an important message about the possible dangers of e-cigarette use especially by young people since "Adolescent years are times of important brain development. Brain development begins during the growth of the fetus in the womb and continues through childhood and to about age 25."

The report indicates that e-cigarettes are unsafe for young people and have potentially harmful effects from the chemicals in the products. Possible risks include risks to the brain, the respiratory system and other bodily systems as well as behavioral risks (risk of addiction and/or use of other tobacco products and/or alcohol and other substances). Since 2011 the use of e-cigarettes among youth has increased from less than 2% to about 16% (an 800% increase). Indications are that marketing to youth has increased and 85% of all e-cigarettes use flavors that encourage use among teens. For more information and a message from the Surgeon General click here.