The U.S. Department of Agriculture announced the launch of its first ever Alexa skill, a digital tool for parents and caregivers of infants and toddlers between four and 24 months old. Families who use the MyPlate Alexa skill receive nutrition information on what and how to feed their child based on their age.
Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said the “USDA’s MyPlate Alexa skill leverages technology to meet American families where they are and foster healthy eating habits from an early age.”
The MyPlate Alexa skill is the latest addition to MyPlate’s extensive suite of resources aimed at helping Americans achieve a healthy, attainable diet that fits their individual lifestyle and budget. The new Alexa skill helps parents and caregivers introduce simple, tasty, and nutritious foods while helping to establish healthy eating habits starting at a young age. It is accessible to all Alexa device owners and iOS and Android users who download the free Alexa app.
One-fifth of American children currently suffer from obesity, which research shows is directly linked to adult obesity and adverse health impacts. With nearly three in four adults currently experiencing some form of a diet-related illness, it is crucial that we take steps to promote good nutrition.
“USDA recognizes that nutrition is vital to combating the onset of diet-related illness,” said Stacy Dean, USDA’s deputy undersecretary for food, nutrition, and consumer services. “Through this new resource, families receive science-based food and nutrition advice to set their child up for life-long healthy eating habits.”
The agency plans to expand the MyPlate Alexa skill to include additional life stages, starting with children two years and older and eventually covering older adults.
MyPlate – originally launched in 2011 – is the consumer-friendly translation of the Dietary Guidelines for Americans and provides a general guide on what and how much to eat from the five food groups – fruits, vegetables, grains, proteins, and dairy or soy alternatives. MyPlate.gov offers a wide variety of resources to make healthy eating guidance easily accessible to all Americans. Additionally, USDA’s Start Simple with MyPlate app helps users set and complete easy-to-obtain goals, based on the MyPlate food groups, that encourage healthy eating habits in a fun and motivating way. More information can be found at www.myplate.gov/myplateassistant.