What people eat and drink have an impact on their health. The U.S. Departments of Agriculture and Health and Human Services recently released their updated reference, “Dietary Guidelines for Americans, 2020-2025”. Reflecting the current body of nutrition science, the guidelines examine the relationship between diet and health across all life stages, from infancy to older adulthood. The goal of the guidelines is to inform, based on evidence from scientific studies, how eating healthier can help reduce the risk of diet-related chronic disease including obesity, type 2 diabetes, and cardiovascular disease.
The full version of the guidelines can be found here. The guidelines cover areas that parents frequently have questions on or are concerned about. Some of these areas include:
Birth to 23 months:
- Introducing infants to nutrient-dense complementary foods at about 6 months of age
- Assessing readiness for beginning to eat solid foods
- Introducing infants to potentially allergenic foods
- Establishing a healthy diet for toddlers including recommended intake ranges of various food groups
Children and Adolescents age 2-18 years:
- Tables showing recommend food group intake ranges broken down by age
- Ages 2 through 4 years
- Ages 5 through 8 years
- Ages 9 through 13 years
- Ages 14 through 18 years
- Offering nutrient-dense foods and beverages at an early age to help children develop and maintain healthy dietary patterns
While food choice is only one part of staying healthy, this report is a welcome addition to the body of knowledge that is available in terms of approaching nutrition from infancy to young adulthood.