Dietary Guidelines 2020 Update
By RDBA Executive Director Annette Maggi, MS, RDN, LD, FAND
Earlier this month, the 2020 Dietary Guidelines Committee released their scientific report. This report is a compilation of the committee’s review of the most recent science. USDA and Health and Human Services (HHS) take use this report to make recommendations on what the average American should eat and drink to maintain health and prevent chronic disease.
Here are highlights of the scientific report:
- There are two themes that make up the backdrop for the 2020-2025 Dietary Guidelines, which are:
- A focus on life stage in the nutrition recommendations. New for this version of the Dietary Guidelines for Americans (DGAs), the committee reviewed science related to the impact of nutrition during pregnancy and lactation and birth to 24 months; they also reviewed scientific updates on nutrition and dietary patterns during childhood, adolescence and adulthood.
- Dietary patterns. The committee focused on healthy dietary patterns as defined by the quality of the foods included in meals and eating habits as well as the foods that should be limited for long-term health. Some specific food categories and nutrients were considered, including beverages, seafood, added sugars, fats, and the overall macronutrient profile.
- Overweight and obesity continue as a focus of the DGAs, given that 70% of Americans fall into these health categorizations and that severe obesity has increased over the past 20 years. This focus overlaps with the life stage considerations as the prevalence of overweight and obesity at young ages impacts the child’s health as well as future health problems, such as risk of heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and some cancers.
- Food insecurity and access to affordable healthy food is a report priority, especially given the disproportionate impact on low income households, households with young children and those lead by single adults, and populations of color.
- The report addresses the inter-relationship between chronic disease, COVID-19, and social determinants of health, addressing the importance of quality dietary patterns in risk.
The full report is available here. Right now and through August 13th, anyone can submit comments and feedback on the report here. Once the comment period closes, USDA and HHS will develop the 2020-2025 Dietary Guidelines for Americans.