Center for Communications, Health and the Environment
Summer 2015 Vol. 9, Issue 1
Dietary Fat & Heart Disease Debate Commands New Attention

Dietary Guidelines for Americans, 2015:
Actions for Individuals and Families/Households

“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:

    1. Improving food and menu choices, modifying recipes (including mixed dishes and sandwiches), and watching portion sizes.

    2. 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).

    3. 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.

  • [Achieve] healthy dietary patterns through healthy food and beverage choices rather than with nutrient or dietary supplements except as needed.

  • 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.

    1. 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 behavioral specialists).

    2. 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.

    3. 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.

    4. 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!

    5. 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.


    Read More:
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    Spotlight Article: Dietary Guidelines 2015 Offer New Advice
    CECHE News: Freedom House Forum Honors Mark Palmer

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