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Dietary Guidelines for Americans, 2010

On January 31, 2011, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) unveiled the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, 2010.

The Dietary Guidelines for Americans (DGA) provides advice for making food choices that promote good health, a healthy weight, and help prevent disease for healthy Americans ages 2 and over. It forms the basis of Federal nutrition policy, education, outreach, and food assistance programs used by consumers, industry, nutrition educators, and health professionals.

Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2010 Cover Page

The DGA 2010 includes 23 key recommendations for all Americans and six recommendations for specific population groups, such as pregnant or breastfeeding women and individuals over 50. These recommendations fall into two major themes:

  • Balancing calories to manage body weight and
  • Focusing on nutrient-dense foods and beverages.

“Balancing calories to manage body weight” includes the concepts of controlling total calorie intake to manage body weight, increasing physical activity, and avoiding inactivity. “Focusing on nutrient-dense foods and beverages” includes the concepts of eating vegetables, fruits, whole grains, fat-free or low-fat dairy products, and seafood more often, eating foods and beverages high in solid fat and added sugars less often, and reducing sodium intake.

The Dietary Guidelines for Americans, 2010 includes emphasis on managing body weight throughout all life stages and proper nutrition for children throughout. It also acknowledges the influence of the broader food and physical activity environment on Americans’ daily food, beverage, and physical activity choices, and calls for improvements to the environment via systematic and coordinated efforts among all sectors of influence.

Consumer-friendly advice and tools, including a next generation Food Pyramid, will be released by USDA and HHS in the coming months. To help consumers translate the Dietary Guidelines into their everyday lives, some bite-sized tips were provided:

  • Enjoy your food, but eat less.
  • Avoid oversized portions.
  • Make half your plate fruits and vegetables.
  • Switch to fat-free or low-fat (1%) milk.
  • Compare sodium in foods like soup, bread, and frozen meals – and choose the foods with lower numbers.
  • Drink water instead of sugary drinks.

A new appendix table includes key consumer behaviors and potential strategies for professionals to use in implementing the Dietary Guidelines.

The Dietary Guidelines for Americans, 2010 is available at http://www.dietaryguidelines.gov/. An archived copy of today’s launch event will be available on the DGA website after it is finalized.

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