What Every Parent Should Know About the New USDA Guidelines

Parenting can be challenging for us all. The best thing to do about this is to gather as much information as you can about keeping your kids happy and healthy. One of the most important and confusing subjects can be what you should feed to children. Luckily, there’s an official set of guidelines to follow when it comes to your family’s nutrition.

What Are the US Dietary Guidelines?

The Dietary Guidelines for Americans (DGA) are updated every five years and can help you make healthier food choices. This guide aims to promote better nutrition across all ages. Following nutritional targets and placing limits helps to improve your diet significantly.

The Department of Agriculture develops these guidelines alongside the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS). The advice they offer is based on evidence from scientific research. They are regularly updated to give you the best possible suggestions when it comes to nutrition.

What Is the USDA?

The US Department of Agriculture (USDA) develops these guidelines alongside the DHHS. The USDA contains 29 different agencies, all advising of various areas in agricultural research. They have thousands of locations across the US as well as some abroad.

The USDA provides guidance on food, nutrition, and agricultural resources, among other things. They offer the best available science and introduce policies that can help to improve the nourishment of all Americans. They aim to promote the preservation of America’s natural resources and create efficient and sustainable farming methods.

More recently, the development of the USDA guidelines has been made into a more inclusive process. The department wants to encourage transparency when creating new policies, so they opened up the topics for public discussion. These were then examined to help make the guidelines more relevant to the American public.

What Are the Changes for 2020, and How Will They Affect Your Family?

Introducing Guidelines for Pregnancy and Early Childhood

For the first time, the DGAs will include advice for pregnant women and children aged 0-24 months. The hope is that tackling better nutrition earlier on in a child’s life will help to reduce the rising cases of childhood obesity. It should also assist with brain development and overall health in those crucial first 24 months.

If you’re an expecting or new mother, then make sure to read up on this new information when it’s released in 2021. This can help improve the health of both you and your baby. The evidence-based recommendations are the most updated health advice for this age group, and the information is being offered for the first time.

One of the main points you’ll see here is the recommendation for no added sugar for children under two years. This is the primary factor being addressed to combat the obesity epidemic currently happening in the US. An easy way to cut out added sugars is to reduce the number of processed foods you give to your children.

Introducing Potential Allergens at an Earlier Stage

The other key point in the 2020-2025 guidelines is to introduce eggs and peanuts to children in their first year of life. These foods can be added to your child’s diet after four months. There’s moderate evidence from the Scientific Report that shows this can reduce the risk of developing an allergy to eggs later in life.

There’s even stronger evidence to support that peanut allergies are less likely to develop when you give them to children between 4 and 12 months. This was especially effective in preventing this allergy in infants with a high risk to do so, but can also be applied to lower-risk individuals.

Take Away

It’s clear to see the DGA and USDA want to finely tune their guidelines in the years to come. This year and next, the most important addition to know is the recommendation for children under two to avoid added sugar. It’s also encouraged to feed them foods that can cause an allergy, like eggs and peanuts, to lower the likelihood that they’ll develop one. 

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