Nutrition-Bites-Basics-of-the-Dietary-Guidelines-for-Americans-2015

Nutrition Bites: Basics of the Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2015

Every five years, the Department of Health and Human Services teams up with the United States Department of Agriculture to update the Dietary Guidelines for Americans (DGA). Currently, this process is coming to a close and a final report is to be published by the end of 2015. Here are the basics so far:

What is The Dietary Guidelines for Americans?
The Dietary Guidelines for Americans (DGA) is a set of guidelines to promote a healthful diet, healthy weight, and prevent chronic diseases in the American population. It is aimed at individuals 2 years and up, and considers those with chronic diseases.

How are the Guidelines used?
The Guidelines are used by various government agencies including Supplemental Nutrition Assistant Program (SNAP); The Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infant, and Children (WIC); the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC); the Food and Drug Administration (FDA); and various other governmental agencies. The Guidelines provide the basis for federally funded food and nutrition policy and education and are also used by healthcare professionals.

How are the guidelines developed?
The Department of Health and Human Services and the United States Department of Agriculture form a committee of nutrition and health experts. The committee represents different ethnicities, ages, gender, and regions of the country. This committee reviews current scientific and medical evidence to determine recommendations. A report is written and the public is allowed to review and comment on the proposed recommendations. The Guidelines can be reviewed and comments can be made at health.gov until May 8, 2015. After taking into consideration public comment, the Guidelines are developed and submitted for scientific and policy review. Finally, the Dietary Guidelines for Americans Document is released.

What are some notable changes can we expect from the 2015 Dietary Guidelines for Americans?
Currently, the proposed 2015 Guidelines focus more on population health, with specific emphasis on socioecological determinants of health. This focus highlights the importance of the built environment, public policies, and creating a social change for health. There is also an added emphasis on the health effects of added sugar, and a push to decrease soda consumption. Additionally, dietary cholesterol is no longer thought to have a large effect on health.

For more information, visit http://www.health.gov/dietaryguidelines/2015.asp#overview

By Kelsey Shanklin, MS, RD

(Nutrition Bites is a new feature that will appear regularly in the Tulane PRC’s e-newsletters and will cover nutrition and health tips from Kelsey Shanklin, MS, RD. If you have any suggestions for Nutrition Bites topics, please contact Naomi Englar at nking2@tulane.edu or 504-988-7410.)

(Photo courtesy of health.gov.)

Topics:   policy , diet , food environment , snap , wic , obesity , childhood obesity , community health

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