February 6, 2015

The Dietary Guideline for Americans is due for publication in early 2015. It is created every five years to advise US citizens how to better their health.Every five years since 1985, the United States Department of Agriculture and the Human Health and Services Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion have released a new edition of the Dietary Guidelines for Americans. This document highlights the issues of nutrition in the U.S. and ways for Americans to change their lifestyles to better their health. Students of Boulder culinary school can learn about the state of the country’s nutritional needs from these guidelines. Learn more about the guideline creation process here:

What are the dietary guidelines?
The DGA is full of advice about eating habits and physical activity to prevent disease and promote overall health in Americans. It is the base of the federal nutrition policy, which controls food assistance programs and labeling, and has a hand in many consumer and industry decisions involving food and exercise. The guidelines reflect advice for people ages two and up. The USDA hopes to change that in 2020, when the guidelines will apply to infants as well.

How are the guidelines created?
A committee is formed of health professionals and nationally known experts to oversee the creation of the guidelines. They consider the last set of guidelines and how the advice should be altered at a series of meetings. The committee looks at the current trends in disease, dieting and lifestyles and hosts guest speakers with expertise in health care, nutrition and disease prevention. It also takes public commentary and analyzes scientific reports and data to determine issues to be addressed in the new guidelines. It submits a first draft to the secretaries of the USDA and HHS?, who work together to create the final draft that is implemented as the official guidelines report.

What are the guidelines used for?
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention alters their “Fruits and Veggies – More Matters” program to increase consumer knowledge based on the most recent guidelines. The National Institutes of Health and its affiliates create consumer initiatives targeted at individuals with certain diseases or lifestyle choices like smoking. Many other agencies like the Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, Administration on Community Living and more also use the guidelines to create targeted campaigns for health education programs and services to be implemented in schools, hospitals and other institutions.

As of Dec. 15?, 2014, the DGA Committee had its final meeting and public comments were closed on Dec. 30. The report will be turned in to the Secretaries of the HHS and USDA in early 2015 and it will be published soon after.