55,000 People Speak Up to Help Shape Dietary Guidelines for Americans

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55,564 people—including members of Salud America!—submitted public comments to help shape the 2020-2025 Dietary Guidelines for Americans.

A federal advisory committee will consider the public comments, collected from March 2019 to June 2020, as they create a scientific report to inform the new dietary guidelines. Our members made over 250 comments to add water to the MyPlate/MiPlato graphic, reduce added sugars, and promote dietary equity.

The USDA and HHS will use the scientific report and comments to draft the 2020-2025 Dietary Guidelines for Americans.

But don’t worry if you missed commenting!

USDA and HHS will open a new comment period for the advisory committee’s scientific report around July 15, 2020.

“We’re excited that so many people spoke up for equitable dietary guidelines,” said Dr. Amelie Ramirez, director of Salud America! at UT Health San Antonio. “We hope people will use their voice to continue promoting health equity.”

Why Do We Need Health Equity in Dietary Guidelines?

Unhealthy eating is now the top cause of premature death in the nation.

Communities of color and low-income families are disproportionately impacted by nutrition-related diseases.

Latinos, for example, tend to live in food swamps. These have an abundance of unhealthy fast food options and a void of grocery stores and farmer’s markets with healthier options, according to a Salud America! research review. This leads to over-consumption of unhealthy food and higher rates of obesity among Latino children and adults.

Sustainable food systemsCoronavirus also is worsening these issues, as well as food insecurity.

“Bringing across health equity in the Dietary Guidelines for Americans—the leading set of nutrition recommendations for people and public health professionals—is especially important for Latinos and other communities of color,” Ramirez said. “We must bring healthier diets within reach of all populations.”

What Is Next in Developing the Dietary Guidelines?

The government updates the Dietary Guidelines for Americans every five years.

Guidelines set nutritional targets and dietary limits for children (ages 2-18), adults (19-64), and older adults (65 and older). Now, for the first time, guidelines will cover pregnant women and babies (birth to age 2).

Parents, nutrition leaders, healthcare providers, and others can use the guidelines help people choose an overall healthy diet.

On June 18, the federal advisory committee released some preliminary recommendations, including lowering the limit of alcoholic drinks per day for men down to one, and lowering the percentage of calories from added sugars from 10% to 6%, Politico reports.

After the upcoming comment period in Summer 2020, USDA and HHS are expected to issue final guidelines around December 2020.

What Can You Do Right Now?

Download a Salud America! Health Equity Report Card.

Health Equity Report CardYou will see how many local children live in poverty and food deserts, how many have low food access, and how many get SNAP food benefits, compared to your state and nation. You can also get your local per-population rates of fast food restaurants and grocery stores.

Email your Health Equity Report Card to community leaders, share it on social media, and use it to make the case to address food insecurity where help is needed most!

Get your health equity Report Card!

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