The goal of the Dietary Guidelines for Americans (DGA) is to promote eating patterns that optimize health and prevent chronic disease in individuals in all stages of life.
Since 1980, the U.S. Departments of Health and Human Services and Agriculture have jointly published nutrition guidelines for the general public. In 2008 the guidelines were 19 pages long and covered 7 succinct topics; eat a variety of foods, maintain ideal weight, avoid too much fat, eat foods with adequate fiber, avoid too much sugar, avoid too much sodium and if you drink alcohol, drink in moderation.
Over the years, the guidelines continue to address similar topics, but the basis of these more specific recommendations has been increasingly derived from scientific evidence that constitutes a comprehensive document spanning more than 200 pages.
The guideline development process is multi-faceted. First, the U.S. Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee, comprised of leading nutrition experts, is assigned the task of reviewing the world’s literature on diet and health that has accumulated over the previous five years. It is on the basis of the advisory committee’s systematic review that the DGAs are derived. The DGAs continue to focus on disease prevention and helping Americans age 2 and older shift towards healthy eating patterns.