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Purpose of the Dietary Guidelines

What we eat and drink is important at every stage of life, and it is never too early or too late to eat healthfully. The purpose of the Dietary Guidelines for Americans is to provide advice on what to eat and drink to build a healthy diet that can promote healthy growth and development, help prevent diet-related chronic disease, and meet nutrient needs.

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Who's Involved in Updating the Dietary Guidelines

USDA and HHS are responsible for updating and releasing the Dietary Guidelines. This includes oversight of the Advisory Committee, providing opportunities for public input, and developing and coordinating clearance of the Dietary Guidelines throughout each Department. 

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History of the Dietary Guidelines

The Federal government has provided advice on what to eat and drink for more than 100 years. Since 1990, the Secretaries of Agriculture and Health and Human Services are required by law to publish the Dietary Guidelines for Americans every five years. The nature of dietary guidance, providing advice on foods and nutrients to eat more or less of, has remained relatively consistent, however the specific messages have changed as the process used to create the Dietary Guidelines has evolved as nutrition science progressed and the methods used to review the science have advanced. The Dietary Guidelines serves as the cornerstone of Federal food and nutrition guidance.

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Previous Editions of the Dietary Guidelines for Americans

The Dietary Guidelines for Americans has been released by the Departments of Agriculture and Health and Human Services every five years since 1980. The Dietary Guidelines for Americans, 2020-2025 is the 9th and current edition. There are now eight previous editions.

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Related Projects

There are projects that exist outside of the Dietary Guidelines process, but have implications for the Dietary Guidelines. Examples include the Dietary Reference Intakes developed by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine, a study of the process used to establish the Dietary Guidelines by the National Academies, the Healthy Eating Index, and the Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans

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