“It will take concerted, bold action on the part
of individuals, families, communities, industry, and government to achieve
and maintain healthy dietary patterns and the levels of physical activity
needed to promote a healthy U.S. population,” underscores the Scientific
Report of the 2015 Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee.
Following are specific recommendations from that U.S.
Department of Agriculture/Health and Human Services report to help individuals,
their families and households calibrate their lifestyle and behavior to
promote personal health, manage preventive health services and activities,
and prevent disease.
- Think prevention, know your lifestyle-related health risk profile,
make personal goals and commitments, and take action to promote personal
and household/family health. Work with health professionals to assess
and monitor your health risks and to personalize your preventive lifestyle
behavior plan of action.
- Know and understand how to modify your diet and physical activity
to reduce personal and family member health risks. Know your current
dietary pattern, including your healthy choices that can be maintained
as well as areas for potential change. Act on this information. Seek
to make gradual and sustainable changes in your dietary behaviors to
achieve one of several sound healthy dietary pattern options (e.g.,
Healthy U.S.-style Pattern, the Healthy Mediterranean-style Pattern,
or the Healthy Vegetarian Pattern). For most people, this will mean:
[Achieve] healthy dietary patterns through healthy food and beverage
choices rather than with nutrient or dietary supplements except as needed.
- Improving food and menu choices, modifying recipes (including mixed
dishes and sandwiches), and watching portion sizes.
- Including more vegetables (without added salt or fat), fruits (without
added sugars), whole grains, seafood, nuts, legumes, low/non-fat dairy
or dairy alternatives (without added sugars).
- Reducing consumption of red and processed meat, refined grains, added
sugars, sodium, and saturated fat; substituting saturated fats with
polyunsaturated alternatives; and replacing solid animal fats with non-tropical
vegetable oils and nuts.
Use available Dietary Guidelines for Americans tools and other
sound resources to initiate positive personal lifestyle changes to improve
dietary and physical activity behaviors, including goal setting and self-monitoring.
- As needed, seek regular advice from qualified health care providers
to establish a personalized plan for prevention that includes steps
to adopt healthy dietary patterns and physical activity. As appropriate,
engage with nutrition and health professionals to address personal health
risks that can be lowered with sound diet and physical activity, or
participate in comprehensive lifestyle interventions conducted by trained
interventionists (registered dietitians/nutritionists, exercise and
- Achieve and maintain a healthy weight. Know your level of obesity
risk. Know your energy needs and how they change with varying levels
of physical activity. Take personal action for obesity prevention or
weight loss management, as needed, using sound, evidence-based tools
and resources. Seek to achieve a dietary pattern consistent with the
Dietary Guidelines for Americans, recognizing that many evidence-based
options can facilitate weight loss and weight loss maintenance. As appropriate,
work with qualified nutrition professionals and health providers to
create a personalized plan of action for obesity prevention. When needed,
engage in intensive, long-term nutrition counseling or comprehensive
lifestyle intervention strategies to achieve maximal, long-term weight
loss and weight maintenance results.
- Ensure at home and in public settings, such as schools and early child
care programs, that young children achieve a high-quality dietary pattern
and level of physical activity. Encourage their active participation
in food experiences and activity choices so that the importance of dietary
quality and physical activity are reinforced, and healthy lifestyle
behaviors become normative, habitual, and easier to maintain through
adolescence and lifelong.
- Follow on a regular basis, the Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans.
Engage in at least 2.5 hours a week of moderate-intensity aerobic physical
activity, such as brisk walking, or 1.25 hours a week of vigorous-intensity
aerobic physical activity. For weight control, at least 1 hour a day
of moderate- to vigorous-intensity physical activity may be required.
Engage children in at least 1 hour a day of moderate- to vigorous-intensity
physical activity each day. Limit children’s screen time to no
more than two hours per day. Adults should limit sedentary activity
and replace it with aerobic and strengthening exercises. As needed,
engage with qualified professionals in comprehensive lifestyle interventions
to achieve maximal impact on healthy dietary and physical activity patterns
and health outcomes. Get enough sleep!
- Seek and demand the creation and maintenance of food and physical
activity environments and resources in your community and in local public,
private and retail settings so as to promote a “culture of health.”
These are strongly needed to facilitate the ease of initiating and meeting
the U.S. Dietary Guidelines recommendations at home and away from home.
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