Over the past century, deficiencies of essential nutrients have dramatically decreased in the U.S., many infectious diseases have been conquered, and the majority of the U.S. population can now anticipate a long and productive life.  At the same time, rates of chronic diseases – many of which are related to poor quality diet and physical inactivity – have increased.  About half of all American adults have one or more preventable, diet-related chronic diseases, including cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, and overweight and obesity.

However, a large body of evidence now shows that healthy eating patterns and regular physical activity can help people achieve and maintain good health and reduce the risk of chronic disease throughout all stages of the lifespan.

The 2015-20 Dietary Guidelines translate into succinct, food-based guidance that can be relied upon to help Americans choose foods that provide a healthy and enjoyable diet.  Its recommendations are ultimately intended to help individuals improve and maintain overall health and reduce the risk of chronic disease – its focus is disease prevention.  The Dietary Guidelines is not intended to be used to treat disease.  Regardless of an individual’s current health status, almost all people in the U.S. could benefit from shifting choices to better support healthy eating patterns.

A healthy eating pattern includes:

  1. A variety of vegetables from all the subgroups – dark green, red and orange, legumes, starchy and other
  2. Fruits – especially whole fruits
  3. Grains, at least half of which are whole grains
  4. Fat-free or low-fat dairy, including milk, yogurt, cheese and/or fortified soy beverages
  5. A variety of protein foods, including seafood, lean meats and poultry, eggs, legumes, nuts, seeds and soy products

A healthy eating pattern limits:

  1. Consume less than 10% of calories from added sugars
  2. Consume less than 10% of calories from saturated fats
  3. Consume less than 2,300 mg per day of sodium

In tandem with the recommendation above, Americans of all ages (children, adolescents, adults and older adults) should meet the Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans.  We should also aim to achieve and maintain a healthy body weight.  The relationship between diet and physical activity contributes to calorie balance and managing body weight.

For all details see,