A: The DGA provide advice for making food choices that promote good health, advocate a healthy weight, and help prevent disease. The DGA are for healthy Americans age 2 and older.
The DGA answer the questions:
The advice is based on a thorough, transparent, and unbiased review of the scientific evidence. The DGA are congressionally mandated under the 1990 National Nutrition Monitoring and Related Research Act (Public Law 101-445, Section 301 [7 U.S.C. 5341], Title III). Every 5 years, the Secretary of Agriculture and the Secretary of Health and Human Services release a new set of guidelines.
A: The DGA help Americans make smart choices about food and physical activity so they can have healthier lives.
The DGA form the basis of Federal nutrition policy, education, outreach, and food assistance programs. They are also used by consumers, industry, nutrition educators, and health professionals.
All Federal dietary guidance for the public is required to be consistent with the DGA. The DGA provide all Government agencies a single set of recommendations to use when communicating with the public. They are used in the development of materials, messages, tools, and programs on healthy eating and physical activity.
A: The Secretary of Agriculture and the Secretary of Health and Human Services must review and release the DGA every 5 years. This review and release is required by the 1990 National Nutrition Monitoring and Related Research Act (Public Law 101-445, Section 301[7 U.S.C. 5341], Title III).
The DGA are required to be based on current scientific and medical knowledge.
A: The DGA have always focused on adults and children age 2 and older. Children under age 2 are not included because their nutritional needs and eating patterns vary by their developmental stage and greatly differ from those of older children and adults.
A: There are two major themes in the 2010 DGA:
Balancing calories to manage body weight includes:
Focusing on nutrient-dense foods and beverages includes:
Overall, the DGA includes 23 key recommendations for all Americans and 6 recommendations for specific population groups.
A: There are a number of differences, including the emphases on managing body weight through all life stages and on proper nutrition for children.
The 2010 DGA incorporate research on eating patterns for the first time. Also, the eating patterns presented now include vegetarian adaptations.
A new section in the 2010 DGA (Chapter 6) acknowledges the influence of the broader food and physical activity environment on Americans and their daily food, beverage, and physical activity choices. This section calls for improvements to the environment through system-level changes and coordinated efforts from all sectors that influence these choices.
The 2010 key recommendations indicate which food groups to eat more or less of, rather than providing an exact amount of food that should be eaten from each food group. This approach is directional rather than quantitative. Although the 2010 key recommendations do not specify exact quantities of what to eat, an entire chapter (Chapter 5) and several appendices discuss eating patterns that include quantities.
The 2010 DGA also provide revised guidance on reducing daily sodium (salt) intake. Americans should consume less than 2,300 mg of sodium (salt) each day. That amount is lowered to 1,500 mg for people who:
About half of the U.S. population, including children and the majority of adults, fall into one of the groups that should limit their daily sodium (salt) intake to 1,500 mg.
Additional differences include:
A: The 2005 DGA had 18 key recommendations for specific population groups; for 2010, there are six. Many of the 2005 recommendations for specific population groups now apply to most Americans; therefore, they have been incorporated into the general key recommendations or included as topics and guidance that are discussed within the text.
A: Topic areas addressed in the 2010 DGAC Report were similar to those covered in 2005. The 2005 DGAC used a modified systematic review process to address its research questions.
The 2010 DGAC used a new method that involved working with the newly established USDA Nutrition Evidence Library to conduct evidence-based, systematic reviews of the research related to the major questions addressed by the DGA. Of the DGAC’s 180 questions, 130 were addressed through this method.
The DGAC answered the remaining questions using data analyses, food pattern modeling analyses, and consideration of other evidence-based reviews or existing reports such as the 2008 Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans.
The decision-making process and evidence relevant to each review are publicly available at www.nutritionevidencelibrary.gov.
A: A public comments database was accessible during the 2010 DGA development process. The public was able to provide written comments and submit supporting material.
A total of 765 written comments on the DGA process were posted between October 15, 2008, and April 29, 2010. A total of 1,159 comments on the DGAC Report were posted from June 15 to July 15, 2010.
In addition, oral testimony was heard at the second DGAC meeting and at a public meeting on the DGAC Report in July 2010.
A total of 51 organizations and individuals provided comments on the DGA process on January 29–30, 2009 (second DGAC meeting). Fifty organizations and individuals provided oral comments on the DGAC Report on July 8, 2010.
A: The DGAC consists of 13 experts in nutrition and public health with particular expertise in:
The DGAC had a balanced and diverse membership, with seven women and six men of various ethnicities, ages, and regions of the country. Information about each DGAC member is available in the DGAC Report, available at www.dietaryguidelines.gov.
Ethics clearance identified no potential conflicts of interests of DGAC members.
A: A working group of nutritionists from USDA-CNPP and HHS-ODPHP translated the Advisory Report into a draft of the 2010 DGA Policy Document. Public and agency comments on the DGAC Report were considered at that time.
The draft policy document was peer-reviewed according to the Office of Management and Budget’s Quality of Information Act requirements. A number of USDA and HHS agencies reviewed and cleared the Policy Document.
The USDA-CNPP and HHS-ODPHP team finalized the document, which was then sent to the Secretaries of USDA and HHS in December 2010 for final review, clearance, and sign-off.
Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack and Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius jointly released the 7th edition of the DGA Policy Document on January 31, 2011.
A: The DGA lay the groundwork for healthy eating, and consumer-oriented materials help consumers live by the guidelines’ principles. Five fact sheets have been developed for consumers, each focusing on a different aspect of healthy eating. The fact sheets translate the DGA into actionable, easy-to-understand language for consumers.
More consumer-friendly advice and tools, including a next generation Food Pyramid, will be released by USDA and HHS in the coming months.
A: The policy document is available online at www.dietaryguidelines.gov. This Web site also will provide information about availability of hard copies and ordering information, as soon as the information is available.
As part of the DGA nutrition education and communication efforts, USDA-CNPP and HHS-ODPHP will develop simple, direct, actionable messages, tools, and information based on ongoing consumer research. With the assistance of both Federal and industry partners, USDA-CNPP will conduct marketing activities to promote the overarching 2010 DGA concepts and key recommendations.
A: Agencies within USDA and HHS rely on and plan for receiving DGA Policy Recommendations every 5 years. Agencies use the newest information provided through the DGA to make appropriate changes and program updates. Nutrition education is a key part of most programs and requires providing the public with the most accurate and up-to-date dietary recommendations, nutrition advice, food resource management, and food safety practices.
Here are some examples of how various agencies use the DGA:
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