Center for Communications, Health and the Environment
|Vol. 6, Issue 1
New U.S. Dietary Guidelines Target Consumption to Combat Obesity, Other Chronic Diseases
Dietary Guidelines 2010 Focus on Obesity, Call for Reduced Sodium, Fat and Sugar Intake
Poor diet and physical inactivity are the principal contributors to an epidemic of overweight and obesity that is affecting men, women and children throughout the United States, and the world. They are also major causes of global morbidity and mortality.
Against this backdrop, the new 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans (DGA) were released on January 31, 2011.
First published in 1980, the DGA are reviewed, updated and jointly released by the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services every five years. They offer advice for making food choices that promote good health and weight, and form the basis of federal nutrition policy, education, outreach and assistance programs. The current guidelines are also intended to assist with disease prevention in Americans ages 2 years and older, including those at increased risk of chronic diseases.
The 2010 DGA were developed using an evidence-based systematic review process involving a 13-member advisory committee of nutrition and public health experts. They take into account the woeful state of American health, with particular emphasis on the challenges of obesity and proper nutrition for children, as well as national food availability and consumption patterns.
Written in conjunction with the staff of the Center for Science in the Public Interest
The 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans (DGAs) task the population to lower its daily sodium intake, and to compare foods and choose those with lower sodium contents. And with good reason.
Eating less salt is one of the single best ways to prevent high blood pressure, heart attacks and strokes. Yet, despite decades of pressure by groups like Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) and admonitions by prominent health experts, per capita sodium consumption has risen, and continues to increase.
Applying the adequate and tolerable intake levels developed by the Institute of Medicine (IOM), the current DGAs recommend that individuals 14 years and older consume no more than 2,300 milligrams (mg) of sodium a day (about a teaspoon of salt), while people with hypertension, diabetes or chronic kidney disease, those who are 51 years and older, African Americans and children 9 to 14 consume no more than 1,500 mg of sodium daily. This 1,500 mg recommendation applies to about half of the U.S. population. Meanwhile, children ages 4 to 8 are advised to consume no more than 1,200 mg of sodium a day, and children ages 1 to 3 no more than 1,000 mg.
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