March 1, 2016
By Jenny Schmidt
The 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines show that healthy eating patterns and physical activity can lead to maintaining or reaching good health and decreasing the risk of chronic diseases.
Every five years, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and the U.S. Department of Agriculture must collaborate to update the Dietary Guidelines, in order to inform the public about contemporary nutrition and dietary information based on current scientific and medical knowledge. The Dietary Guidelines help professionals educate individuals on how to consume a nutritionally balanced meal.
The guidelines are also developed to establish federal food, nutrition and health policies as well as programs for the public in order to encourage communal and public health.
Preceding versions of the Dietary Guidelines mainly targeted singular dietary components such as food groups and nutrients. However, people do not consume food groups and nutrients alone but rather they consume food in a combination of food groups, forming an eating pattern that can greatly impact health.
As a result, the 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines promote healthy eating patterns by notifying individuals to make healthy food and beverage choices in addition to securing a daily healthy eating pattern. These healthy eating patterns will help decrease the chances of developing chronic diseases such as diabetes, cancer and heart disease, which are directly related to a poor quality diet and lack of physical exercise.
According to the 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines, mixing in healthy foods from all food groups whilst considering caloric intake is important in developing healthy eating patterns. A healthy eating pattern should include fruits, vegetables, protein sources, dairy and oils as well as the limitation of foods with saturated and trans fats, juices and foods with added sugar and high salt content. Individual’s can support healthy eating patterns by creating and advocating for healthy eating programs and facilities within different settings like people’s homes, communities and schools.
You can find out more about the 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines by going on myplate.gov or calling and/or talking with a medical professional such as a dietitian.