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February 21, 2011, 04:31PM PT in Exam Preparation Blog  |  0 Comments

It's New...It's Improved...It's the 2010 Dietary Guidelines!

2010 Dietary GuidelinesYou might have heard rumors about new dietary guidelines coming out. You might have even seen information on the ACE website about upcoming changes. If you’re really on your game, you might have figured out that with the release of new dietary guidelines it’s time to update the information in your exam preparation manual.

The long wait for the 2010 Dietary Guidelines is over. But what does it all mean? Well, it means it is time to get yourself up to date.

The official website for the 2010 Dietary Guidelines is www.dietaryguidelines.gov although there are quite a few other documents and websites available to help you understand the details. Today we’re going to talk about two primary issues – an overview of the big messages and where to go for the specifics you need.

Key differences in the 2010 Dietary Guidelines include an emphasis on maintaining a healthy body weight throughout the lifecycle and on proper nutrition for children. Information on specific eating patterns, including vegetarian adaptations, is included for the first time.  There is a shift to directional intake (versus specific quantities) for various food groups, lists of specific foods to reduce amount consumed (sodium, saturated fat, trans fat etc.), and a focus on nutrients of public health concern such as potassium, dietary fiber, calcium and Vitamin D.

Chapter 6 of the 2010 Dietary Guidelines policy report acknowledges the influence of consumers’ broader food and physical activity environment and its impact on Americans’ lifestyle choices.  This includes research on eating behaviors and the influence of screen time (TV, computer and video game) on body weight.

All good information, but most of you want the specifics so you can prepare for your exam. There are a couple things to keep in mind. Nutrition is a background science. This means that the details oriented nutrition questions are going to be few in number. Just like anatomy, nutrition is something you need to know and understand to operate as a fitness professional.

Will you be asked about general guidelines for calorie intake and what percent of calories should come from fat/protein/etc? Probably. Will you be asked exactly how many micrograms of potassium an individual should be consuming? Probably not. Another thing to keep in mind is that your typical client (at least as the focus of the exam) is an average healthy adult. When you look at the ranges which include kids, teens, adults, older adults…don’t lose that focus.

When reviewing the 2010 Dietary Guidelines make sure you check out Table 2-4 for Recommended Macronutrient Proportions (%fat etc.), the Key Recommendations box in Chapter 3, and the Key Recommendations box in Chapter 4. Is this a comprehensive list of everything you need to know? Of course not…but it does get you started on updating yourself.  Should you panic about test questions on nutrition changing to reflect the guidelines? No, not yet. Remember what I said in the last paragraph about focusing on the big picture.

Finally, if you plan to talk to clients about nutrition and healthy eating, check out the entire 2010 Dietary Guidelines document for some great charts and ideas – especially Chapter 5. Oh…and don’t forget the recent blog post on talking nutrition while staying within your scope of practice.

Questions? Contact an Education Consultant at 1-888-825-3636 x782

By April Merritt
April Merritt holds a bachelor’s degree in Exercise Science, a master’s degree in Health Promotion, and several ACE certifications including Personal Trainer, Group Fitness Instructor and Health Coach.

April Merritt holds a bachelor’s degree in Exercise Science, a master’s degree in Health Promotion, and several ACE certifications including Personal Trainer and Health Coach.

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