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The Physicians Committee

NEWS RELEASE January 25, 2011

Doctors Deliver Giant Power Plate to White House to Protest Government Inaction on Obesity

PCRM’s Jan. 25 Event Follows Lawsuit Over USDA MyPyramid

WASHINGTON—Doctors and dietitians protested outside the White House with a colorful 6-foot-high Power Plate food guide to highlight the federal government’s refusal to consider a healthy alternative to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s confusing MyPyramid, despite an ongoing obesity epidemic.

PCRM doctors and dietitians protest outside the White House with a colorful 6-foot-high Power Plate food guide.

Michael K. Wilkinson

PCRM doctors and dietitians protest outside the White House with a colorful 6-foot-high Power Plate food guide.

The doctors, led by Neal Barnard, M.D., president of the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine, also delivered letters to President Obama and USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack calling on them to replace MyPyramid with the Power Plate. Earlier this month, PCRM sued the USDA and the Department of Health and Human Services for ignoring a petition to replace MyPyramid with the Power Plate.

“Americans are getting fatter and sicker by the day,” Dr. Barnard said. “If we’re going to beat this national crisis, the federal government must offer straightforward, accurate advice on the power of vegetarian foods to fight obesity. Our Power Plate offers lifesaving advice, and it is simple enough for a child to follow.”

The Power Plate was developed by PCRM dietitians as a replacement for the USDA’s confusing MyPyramid food guide. The Power Plate is a simple, colorful graphic depicting a plate divided into four food groups: fruits, vegetables, grains, and legumes. There are no confusing portion sizes and food hierarchies to follow; the Power Plate simply asks people to eat a variety of all four food groups each day.

Since the first Food Pyramid was introduced nearly two decades ago, obesity and diabetes have become commonplace. About 27 percent of young adults are now too overweight to qualify for military service, and an estimated one in three children born in 2000 will develop diabetes.

PCRM’s lawsuit asks the USDA and HHS to address the worsening epidemics of obesity and diet-related diseases by exercising their joint authority under the National Nutrition Monitoring & Related Research Act to withdraw the MyPyramid diagram and adopt the Power Plate food diagram and dietary guidelines.

The Power Plate graphic is based on current nutrition research showing that plant-based foods are the most nutrient-dense and help prevent chronic diseases.

For an interview with Dr. Barnard or another PCRM physician or dietitian, contact Vaishali Honawar at 202-527-7339 or at

Founded in 1985, the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine is a nonprofit health organization that promotes preventive medicine, conducts clinical research, and encourages higher standards for ethics and effectiveness in research.

Media Contact:
Vaishali Honawar

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