US agriculture secretary Mike Johanns has unveiled 'MyPyramid,' a new symbol and interactive food guidance system, designed the replace the Food Guide Pyramid introduced in 1992 as part of the US government's campaign to get Americans to eat more healthily.

'Steps to a Healthier You,' MyPyramid's central message, supports President Bush's HealthierUS initiative which is designed to help Americans live longer, better and healthier lives, the USDA said.

"MyPyramid is about the ability of Americans to personalize their approach when choosing a healthier lifestyle that balances nutrition and exercise," said Johanns. "Many Americans can dramatically improve their overall health by making modest improvements to their diets and by incorporating regular physical activity into their daily lives."

MyPyramid incorporates recommendations from the 2005 Dietary Guidelines for Americans, which was released by the USDA and US Department of Health and Human Services in January. The Dietary Guidelines for Americans provide authoritative advice for people two years of age and older about how proper dietary habits can promote health and reduce the risk of major chronic diseases. MyPyramid was developed to carry the messages of the dietary guidelines and to make Americans aware of the vital health benefits of simple and modest improvements in nutrition, physical activity and lifestyle behaviour.

The MyPyramid symbol, which is deliberately simple, is meant to encourage consumers to make healthier food choices and to be active every day. Consumers can get more in-depth information from the new Web site, MyPyramid.gov, so that they can make these choices to fit their own needs.