Big step in the development of the next Dietary Guidelines for Americans

Remember the Food Pyramid? Or, maybe more recently you’ve seen your child learning about MyPlate? The federal government has been providing dietary guidance to Americans every five years since 1980, and the Food Pyramid and MyPlate are just two ways they’ve displayed those guidelines over time.

Unfortunately, no current or past version of the Dietary Guidelines for Americans has included comprehensive guidance for women and children during the first 1,000 days. But there is good news on the horizon! For the first time ever the next version of the Dietary Guidelines will include recommendations for pregnant women, infants and children under 2.

What’s new?
Last week, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) took a big step forward toward the development of the next Dietary Guidelines. They announced the creation of the 2020 Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee – a group of 20 experts who will review the scientific evidence on diet and health to help inform the final recommendations.

The Committee includes several scientists with specific expertise in nutrition for women who are pregnant or breastfeeding, as well as infants and young children. Two of these experts were nominated by 1,000 Days – Dr. Kathryn Dewey and Dr. Elsie Taveras – and we’d like to congratulate them on being chosen to join the Committee!

Why does it matter?
Dietary guidance for the first 1,000 days is more critical now than ever. The new guidance will provide parents and caregivers with the evidence-based information they need to give their children the best chance to lead healthy, prosperous lives that are free of preventable chronic disease. The recommendations will also inform federal nutrition programs that reach young children and their families, as well as serve as an important reference point for physicians, nutrition counselors, and early childcare providers.

Whether the new guidance looks like a pyramid, a plate, or something else, 1,000 Days strongly supports the creation of science-based dietary guidance for pregnant women, new moms and young children – and we will be tracking the development of the 2020 Dietary Guidelines closely.