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Purpose of the Dietary Guidelines

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 and provides advice on what to eat and drink to promote health and reduce risk of chronic disease. The 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans is the current edition, and will remain so until the next edition is released.

people sitting around a table with 4 large puzzle pieces

The process to develop the 2020-2025 Dietary Guidelines is currently under way.

Learn more about this work and how you can get involved in the process.

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. Additionally, poor diets, tobacco use and not enough physical activity, among other risk factors, are leading causes of deaths in the U.S. Providing up-to-date nutrition advice through the Dietary Guidelines can help to improve the health of Americans by encouraging healthy food and beverage choices that are enjoyable, promote health, and help prevent chronic disease.

eat healthy. be healthy infographic

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 and lower health care costs.

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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