Tell USDA: We Want Healthier Dietary Guidelines!

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The USDA wants your opinion to shape the 2020-2025 Dietary Guidelines for Americans!

food shopping grocery storeThe guidelines aim to help people choose an overall healthy diet. They have specific nutritional targets and dietary limits for children (ages 2-18), adults (19-64), and older adults (65 and older). Now, for the first time, the guidelines will cover pregnant women and babies (birth to age 2).

What do you think the guidelines should recommend? How does it impact Latinos?

Speak up! Copy a model public comment developed by our Salud America! research team, click the “submit” button, and paste the comment in the USDA’s comments submission website by March 30, 2018.

Model Comment: General

I urge the USDA and HHS to create the strongest possible Dietary Guidelines to ensure that all kids, parents, and seniors can make the healthiest food choices possible. Latinos tend to consume more red meat, processed foods, and sugary drinks than their peers, according to a variety of reports and research on the Salud America! website; meanwhile, fruits and vegetables are a healthy part of any diet, and plant-based sources of protein like beans, lentils, and peas can provide recommended levels of fiber, potassium, magnesium, and iron to kids and adults. I hope the USDA develops guidelines that encourage a plant-based diet with clear recommendations that limit the amount of processed meats and added sugars consumed across all age groups, equitably for all people.

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Model Comment: Breastfeeding

Breastfeeding for one year or more significantly lowers the prevalence of childhood obesity and improves other health outcomes for women and their children, according to a Salud America! research review. Yet there are barriers to achieving this goal, especially for Latina women. Marketing of infant formula to pregnant women is associated with reduced rates of initiating breastfeeding, shorter duration of breastfeeding, and increased use of formula. Under the topic of recommended duration, “human milk and/or infant formula feeding” are combined. Additionally, the topic of frequency and volume of human milks and/or infant formula feeding are also combined. Because human milk and infant formula are different, final USDA recommendations regarding duration, frequency and volume of human milk should be separated from duration, frequency and volume of infant formula feeding.

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Model Comment: Sugary Drinks among Infants, Toddlers

Sugary drinks and added sugar are contributing to an obesity crisis among our youngest children. More than four in ten (45%) white children have had a sugary drink by age 2 and nearly three in four (74%) Latino children have, according to a Salud America! research review. Additionally, nearly 60% of infant and toddler food and drink advertising dollars promoted products that are not recommended for young children, including sugar-sweetened toddler milk. However, added sugar isn’t addressed under recommendations for infants and toddlers from birth to 24 months. Please consider addressing added sugars in the infants and toddlers life stage. Because sugary drinks and added sugars are growing concerns, scientific questions should address the relationship between added sugars consumption and beverage consumption and 1) body weight or obesity; 2) risk of cardiovascular disease; 3) risk of type 2 diabetes; and 4) risk of certain types of cancer among children and adolescents and adult life stages.

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Model Comment: Healthcare Advocate

As a healthcare leader, I urge the USDA to develop more culturally appropriate resources and guidelines to improve health outcomes for Latino and all communities. Higher rates of acculturation are often associated with worse diets (higher in fat and lower in fruit and vegetable consumption) for Latinos, who also have less access to healthy food options where they live, according to a Salud America! research review. A diet high in plant-based foods can promote overall health and have a less harmful impact on the environment, than one high in animal-based foods, according to a report conducted by the 2015 Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee. Current dietary guidelines use “nutrient terminology” (i.e., protein) despite research showing that food-based names (i.e. beans, lentils, lean meats, etc.) can provide more clarity to consumers. For instance, further clarification showing that pulses like beans, lentils, and peas can serve as excellent plant based options for proteins can help elucidate misconceptions that can drive consumers to over consume meat. As a member of the Salud America! Network, and for the health of Latino and all populations, I urge the USDA to promote a plant-based diet and health equity through clear guidelines that would encourage increased consumption of fruits and vegetables and decreased added sugars.

Submit this comment to USDA!

You can also tweak any of the above comments to your liking, or submit your own original comment.

Why Is This Important?

The Dietary Guidelines are published every five years by the USDA and U.S. Health and Human Services.

The guidelines are also evidence-based and enable professionals to help people ages 2 and up eat a healthy diet that meets nutrient needs:

  • Follow a healthy eating pattern across the lifespan.
  • Focus on variety, nutrient density, and amount.
  • Limit calories from added sugars and saturated fats and reduce sodium intake.
  • Shift to healthier food and beverage choices.
  • Support healthy eating patterns for all.

“The focus of the Dietary Guidelines is on disease prevention and health promotion,” according to the choosemyplate.gov.” Although the Dietary Guidelines is not intended to treat disease, it can be adapted by nutrition and health professionals to describe healthy eating to patients and clients.”

The 2020-2025 guidelines now divide dietary recommendations into a life stages approach, including pregnant women, infants, and toddlers.

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By The Numbers By The Numbers

40

PERCENT

OF LATINO CHILDREN ARE OVERWEIGHT OR OBESE (COMPARED TO 32% OF ALL U.S. CHILDREN)

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