The three nationally recognized organizations selected to receive cooperative agreements are Tufts University Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy, the Naturally Nutrient Rich Coalition (NNRC) and the Hispanic Communications Network (HCN).
"The high healthcare costs resulting from poor dietary practices underscores the importance of nutrition education to encourage the adoption of healthier lifestyles," said agriculture secretary Mike Johanns.
"Over the last year the public has embraced MyPyramid, which provides personalized guidance on how to live longer and healthier lives. Today, I'm pleased to make the first selections under this new and innovative program that builds on the success of MyPyramid."
Tufts will work with USDA and their proposed third party partner, Safeway, to test a science-based, nutrient density concept to improve consumer understanding of the nutritional quality of products consumers choose and to improve overall dietary patterns at point of purchase.
The Naturally Nutrient Rich Coalition (NNRC) intends to collaborate with USDA to further nutrient density science and market research and develop messages and materials that provide consumers with information that assists them in meeting the recommendations of the Dietary Guidelines.
The Hispanic Communications Network (HCN) on the other hand will work with USDA to develop a campaign to create awareness and behavior change in Spanish-speaking Hispanics nationally through a combination of newspapers, radio and TV stations, high profile Internet portals, and special events in select communities.
The new public private partnerships are designed to collaboratively educate American consumers in creative, innovative ways on important nutrition messages that help individuals to make better food choices and improve physical activity behaviors.
Each cooperative agreement will link science-based dietary guidance to the nutrition needs of consumers, facilitate nutrition policy coordination, and promote nutrition education. USDA will work cooperatively with the selected partners to implement their proposed multi-year, multi-dimensional nutrition promotion and education campaigns. The agreements do not involve the use of any federal funds.
USDA's MyPyramid.gov website observed the first anniversary of its introduction last month, having become one of the most popular websites in government, logging over 1.7 billion hits. Over one million individuals are now enrolled users of the site's tool that allows each person to analyze his or her individual eating and physical activity behavior.
With growing public concern about overweight and obesity and interest in improving health, USDA designed MyPyramid to reach a broad spectrum of the American public. MyPyramid.gov was designed to incorporate the latest, most credible science as reflected in the 2005 Dietary Guidelines for Americans, while offering a practical tool to individualize and personalize the food guidance.
The MyPyramid web site can be accessed in both English and Spanish and a child friendly version, MyPyramid for Kids, has also been developed.