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ARS Home » Plains Area » Grand Forks, North Dakota » Grand Forks Human Nutrition Research Center » Healthy Body Weight Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #346938

Research Project: Biology of Obesity Prevention

Location: Healthy Body Weight Research

Title: The history and future of dietary guidance in America

Author
item Jahns, Lisa
item Shaw, Wendy
item Lichtenstein, Alice - Jean Mayer Human Nutrition Research Center On Aging At Tufts University
item Murphy, Suzanne - University Of Hawaii
item Conrad, Zach
item Nielsen, Forrest - Frosty

Submitted to: Advances in Nutrition
Publication Type: Review Article
Publication Acceptance Date: 12/20/2017
Publication Date: 4/7/2018
Citation: Jahns, L.A., Shaw, W.E., Lichtenstein, A., Murphy, S., Conrad, Z.S., Nielsen, F.H. 2018. The history and future of dietary guidance in America. Advances in Nutrition. 9(2):136-147. https://doi.org/10.1093/advances/nmx025.
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1093/advances/nmx025

Interpretive Summary: The United States has a 100-year history of providing dietary guidance to Americans. This review describes the development and significance of dietary guidance in the US, including the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, and emphasizes the foundations upon which they were developed, the process in formation of past and current guidelines, and present and future applications. Dietary guidance during the first half of the 20th century was focused primarily on food groups in a healthy diet, food safety, proper food storage, and the role of some minerals and vitamins in the prevention of disease. This was punctuated by World War II messaging to reduce food waste and increase food storage. In 1980 the first Dietary Guidelines for Americans report (DGA) was released. Later, wording was changed from negative (avoid) to positive (choose), and emphasis was placed on reducing the prevalence of overweight and obesity, and prevention of chronic diseases. Today, the DGAs guide all federally funded feeding and educational programs,including food policies, food assistance programs, and consumer education programs, as well as programs at the regional, state,and local levels. Additional users include dietitians and other health professionals, food service personnel, food and beverage manufacturers, schools, and day care facilities. Currently, the DGAs are intended for individuals 2 years and older. Future editions of the DGAs will include guidance for infants and children under two years, as well as pregnant women.

Technical Abstract: Evidence-based dietary guidance in the US has progressed substantially since its inception over 100 years ago. This review describes the historical development and significance of dietary guidance in the US, including the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, and emphasizes the foundations upon which they were developed, the process in formation of past and current guidelines, and present and future applications. Dietary guidance during the first half of the 20th century was focused primarily on food groups in a healthy diet, food safety, proper food storage, and the role of some minerals and vitamins in the prevention of disease. This was punctuated by World War II messaging to reduce food waste and increase food storage. In 1980 the first Dietary Guidelines for Americans report (DGA) was released, and later the Departments of Agriculture (USDA) and Health and Human Services (HHS) were given a mandate for reissuance and reassessment every five years. An ad hoc advisory committee made up of non-governmental experts was established for each edition to review the scientific evidence and provide content recommendations to the Secretaries of USDA and HHS. Wording was changed from negative (avoid) to positive (choose), and emphasis was increasingly placed on reducing the prevalence of overweight and obesity, and prevention of chronic diseases. Today, the DGAs guide all federally funded feeding and educational programs, including food policies, food assistance programs, and consumer education programs, as well as programs at the regional, state, and local levels. Additional users include dietitians and other health professionals, food service personnel, food and beverage manufacturers, schools, and day care facilities. Currently, the DGAs are intended for individuals 2 years and older. Future editions of the DGAs will include guidance for infants and children under two years, as well as pregnant women. Areas for expanded application of the DGAs should be explored.