National WIC Association

U.S. Department of Agriculture and Health and Human Services Release 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans

January 7, 2016

Today, the US Department of Agriculture and the Department of Health and Human Services released the 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans (DGA). The Guidelines are based on the Scientific Report of the Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee. The Guidelines translate much of the Committee’s Scientific Report into “succinct, food-based guidance that can be relied upon to help Americans choose foods that provide a healthy and enjoyable diet.”

NWA is pleased to see recommendations that: Americans should be consuming more whole fruits and vegetables and less sugar and salt; and that strategies should be adopted to replace some meat and poultry consumption with seafood, legumes and nuts. Although the recommendation to replace some meat and poultry with other protein sources is progress, NWA is disappointed that the public health and environmental sustainability benefits of reducing consumption of red and processed meat was not addressed more explicitly in the final recommendations.

NWA commends the Guidance for specifically recommending that women who may want to become pregnant achieve and maintain a healthy weight, and women who are pregnant gain weight within gestational weight gain guidelines. This recommendation aligns with the services WIC provides to almost 2 million low-income women each month.

The Dietary Guidelines for Americans are central to informing both nutrition policy and practice. In WIC, the DGAs are the cornerstone of WIC nutrition education. In addition, they will inform the final recommendations in the current Institute of Medicine Review of the WIC Package and play an enormously important role in the lives of those served by WIC.