Spanish Version of Food Pyramid Released

Alarmed by the high rate of obesity among Hispanics, the U.S. Department of Agriculture released its first Spanish translation Wednesday of the food pyramid, the government's handy guide to good nutrition.

"MiPiramide: Pasos Hacia Una Mejor Salud" is the counterpart to the USDA's "MyPyramid: Steps to a Healthier You." Among other things, "grains" have become "granos," and "meat and beans" are "carnes y frijoles" on the diagram of the major food groups.

The nation's Hispanic population is booming, and almost three out of every four Hispanic adults in the U.S. are overweight, according to a 2002 report in the Journal of the American Medical Association. Two out of three U.S. adults overall are overweight.

"Obesity has reached epidemic proportions in the United States, especially in children and adolescents. Those statistics are even more alarming among Latin populations," Roberto Salazar, administrator for the USDA's food and nutrition service, said in Spanish at a news conference.

The government unveiled"MyPyramid" in April, overhauling the food pyramid first introduced in 1992.

The 1992 pyramid had food groups arranged in horizontal layers, with the foods that should be eaten more frequently along the bottom. The newer pyramid has categories of foods represented vertically in a rainbow of colors, and a running figure scaling the pyramid to represent the importance of exercise.

Now, all the new graphics and the USDA's site are available in Spanish, and handouts and other materials have also been translated.

In September, officials launched a version of the pyramid targeted at children, and the materials have also been translated into Braille. The government has no plans to translate the information into any other languages, Salazar said.

The announcement was made in Miami because of its large Hispanic population and its many Hispanic media organizations.

According to USDA, there are 41.4 million Hispanics in the U.S., and they account for one out every seven people. By 2050, the Hispanic population is expected to reach 102.5 million people, or about one in four.

Florida is one of seven states with 1 million or more Hispanic residents, according to the 2000 Census. California and Texas top the list, followed by New York, Florida, Illinois, Arizona and New Jersey.