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DGAC Report highlights effective approaches to facilitate better eating habits among Americans

November 22, 2015

It is the first totally evidence-based report that maximizes the quality, quantity, and critical organization of the underlying scientific data that fully substantiate and raise to new levels of significance the importance of these recommendations. It addresses, for the first time, an unhealthy American public, with the majority (72.3% of women, 64.1% of men) classified as overweight or obese and the rest at risk of becoming obese. This increases the level of intensity, urgency, and significance associated with the translation and implementation of these DGA. It includes a strong and emerging evidence base on infants, children, and pregnant women, vulnerable subgroups. All previous DGA have been directed at the population age 2 years and older. It was conducted in a completely transparent manner with six public meetings, including three Webinars that uniquely provided worldwide, complete real-time access to all the proceedings as they occurred. It includes two new chapters, one regarding the "Total Diet" to present the totality of the recommended eating patterns, and a "Translation/Implementation" chapter that provides the environmental context that affects the overall usefulness and adaptation of the DGA.

The report highlights other noteworthy findings of particular importance for registered dietitians. Between 1970 and 2010, energy intake has increased by over 600 calories per day. Grain-based desserts (for example, cakes and cookies) are the highest ranking contributor to energy intake in the US population, while sodas and sports drinks provide the highest source of calories to adolescents, followed closely by pizza.

Given the dismal success rate of weight loss efforts in adulthood, and the even less successful efforts to maintain weight loss once it is achieved, this report stresses the importance of recognizing that primary prevention of obesity beginning in childhood is potentially the single most powerful method for halting and reversing America's obesity epidemic.

Professor Van Horn writes that "tremendous input was provided by an exceptional team of highly qualified, experienced, knowledgeable, and dedicated registered dietitians from many different backgrounds whose efforts made all the difference in achieving this herculean effort. In conclusion, this commentary serves to congratulate and distinguish the many contributions of RDs, American Dietetic Association members, and others throughout this process." She notes further that, "Encouraging these changes will require partnership with policymakers, industry, and consumers. RDs are key to facilitating these changes, along with dietetic technicians, registered dieticians, and other health care providers."

Source: Elsevier Health Sciences