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Purpose of the Dietary Guidelines

The Dietary Guidelines for Americans provides advice on what to eat and drink to meet nutrient needs, promote health, and prevent disease. It is developed and written for a professional audience, including policymakers, healthcare providers, nutrition educators, and Federal nutrition program operators. The U.S. Departments of Agriculture (USDA) and Health and Human Services (HHS) work together to update and release the Dietary Guidelines for Americans (Dietary Guidelines) every five years. Each edition of the Dietary Guidelines reflects the current body of nutrition science. The Dietary Guidelines for Americans, 2020-2025 is the current edition.

What people eat and drink have an impact on their health. In the U.S., more than half of all adults have one or more preventable chronic diseases, many of which are related to poor diets and not enough physical activity. Given the high rates of chronic disease among Americans, the science that informs the Dietary Guidelines is examined through the lens of health promotion and disease prevention. This means that priority has been placed on studies that examine the relationship between diet and health across all life stages, in men, women and children from diverse racial and ethnic backgrounds, who are healthy or at risk of chronic disease. This scientific underpinning makes the Dietary Guidelines relevant to all Americans, and an important tool for health professionals, policy makers, and many other professionals. All Americans, no matter their health status, can benefit from making changes to what they eat and drink to build a healthy diet.

EatHealthy jpg

This infographic illustrates the impact of our current eating habits in America and underscores how eating healthier – closer to the Dietary Guidelines – can help to reduce risk of diet-related chronic disease. 

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The Dietary Guidelines provides a customizable framework for healthy eating that can be tailored and adapted to meet personal, cultural and traditional preferences. People who work in Federal agencies, public health, healthcare, education, and business all rely on the Dietary Guidelines when providing information on diet and health to the general public. The Dietary Guidelines are used by these professionals to:

  • Form the basis of Federal nutrition policy and programs
  • Support nutrition education efforts
  • Guide local, state, and national health promotion and disease prevention initiatives
  • Inform various organizations and industries