The online tool for teaching with documents, from the National Archives

Uncle Sam and the American Diet

Focusing on Details: Compare and Contrast

All documents and text associated with this activity are printed below, followed by a worksheet for student responses.

Introduction

During World War II, the United States Department of Agriculture introduced a nutrition guide to help maintain nutritional standards. Over time, the government's nutritional standards have changed. In this activity, you will closely examine two posters to determine how the government's effect on the American diet has changed and why the change has occurred.

Click the magnifying glass and arrow icons at the bottom of each image to move or zoom in on the documents; or click "View Entire Document" for more information.


Name:
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Worksheet

Uncle Sam and the American Diet

Focusing on Details: Compare and Contrast

Examine the documents included in this activity and write your response in the space provided.


  • What is the date the poster was created?
  • Who is the intended audience?
  • What does the Government hope the audience will do?
  • What government purpose is served by each poster?
  • Has the Government's purpose changed between first poster and second poster?

Your Response




1

Activity Element

"For Health...eat some food from each group...every day!"




2

Activity Element

Food Guide Pyramid: A Guide to Daily Food Choices




Conclusion

Uncle Sam and the American Diet

Focusing on Details: Compare and Contrast

Now that you have examined two earlier editions of the USDA's nutrition guidelines, visit Choose My Plate to view the most recent nutrition guidelines.
  • What factors do you think changed between 1943 and today that have affected the Government's purpose for establishing nutrition guidelines?
  • Have the guidelines been effective in changing the American diet?


Your Response




Document

"For Health...eat some food from each group...every day!"

ca. 1941 - 1945

This World War II-era food guide – that made butter has its own food group – recommends eating foods from each of the "Basic Seven" every day, and "any other foods you want" in addition. The Basic Seven include:

  1. Green and Yellow Vegetables...
  2. Oranges, Tomatoes, Grapefruit...
  3. Potatoes and Other Vegetables and Fruits
  4. Milk and Milk Products...
  5. Meat, Poultry, Fish, or Eggs...
  6. Bread, Flour, and Cereals...
  7. Butter and Fortified Margarine
This primary source comes from the Records of the Office of Government Reports.
National Archives Identifier: 514288
Full Citation: Poster 44-PA-798B; "For Health...eat some food from each group...every day!"; ca. 1941 - 1945; World War II Posters, 1942 - 1945; Records of the Office of Government Reports, ; National Archives at College Park, College Park, MD. [Online Version, https://www.docsteach.org/documents/document/basic-seven, September 17, 2019]


"For Health...eat some food from each group...every day!"

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Document

Food Guide Pyramid: A Guide to Daily Food Choices

1992

In 1992 the USDA published its first food pyramid – a graphic illustration designed to convey the principles of a healthy diet in an easy-to-understand visual diagram.
This primary source comes from the Records of the Food and Nutrition Service.
National Archives Identifier: 5710010
Full Citation: Poster 462-CNP-1; Food Guide Pyramid: A Guide to Daily Food Choices; 1992; Posters Providing Food and Nutrition Guidelines, 1996 - 2006; Records of the Food and Nutrition Service, ; National Archives at College Park, College Park, MD. [Online Version, https://www.docsteach.org/documents/document/food-guide-pyramid, September 17, 2019]


Food Guide Pyramid: A Guide to Daily Food Choices

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