Today’s release of the 2020-2025 Dietary Guidelines for Americans comes with a critical message to “Make Every Bite Count.” That begins with the simple step to make half our plates fruits and vegetables, including a wide variety of mostly whole and fresh-cut fruits and vegetables.
During the unveiling of the Dietary Guidelines, USDA and HHS data showed the sad reality that Americans’ eating habits haven’t changed for the better, despite decades of similar guidelines. But, today’s reality facing the COVID-19 pandemic brings greater urgency than ever before. We know that diet-related conditions such as obesity and diabetes put people at greater risk of severe illness and even death. No longer are we just thinking about poor diets leading to long-term chronic disease; now, we see clearly that healthy eating is a critical defense against communicable diseases such as the coronavirus.
The Dietary Guidelines mostly repeat what we already know about healthy eating. Now is the time for the political will to actually implement this critical public health advice throughout all federal food programs.