The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the United States Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) published the 2020-2025 Dietary Guidelines for Americans on December 29, 2020; once again proving the undeniable nutrition and health benefits of dairy products for all ages.
Dairy is its own food group in the recommended dietary guidelines for part of a healthy lifestyle. Dairy products provide many key nutrients, including calcium, phosphorus, vitamin A, vitamin D (in fortified products), riboflavin, vitamin B12, protein, potassium, zinc, choline, magnesium and selenium.
The guidelines recommend three servings of dairy foods a day for children 9 years and older, 2.5 servings for those 3 to 8 years of age, 2 servings for those 2 years of age, 1.5 to 2 servings for toddlers 12 to 23 months who no longer consume human milk and small amounts of yogurt and cheese for infants 6 to 12 months, depending on developmental readiness. Two dairy servings are recommended per day for adults ages 19 and older.
Dairy foods are important sources of calcium and vitamin D in American diets, which helps to improve bone health, especially in children and adolescents, and prevent the onset of osteoporosis in adults, most of whom do not get enough of these nutrients. Nutrient-rich dairy foods are recommended for children under the age of 2, who are at a crucial period of growth and development.
“Consistent evidence demonstrates that a healthy dietary pattern including dairy is associated with beneficial outcomes for all-cause mortality, cardiovascular disease, overweight and obesity, type 2 diabetes, bone health and certain types of cancer (breast and colorectal).” Additionally, a healthy eating pattern for children from birth through 24 months—which
includes the introduction of some dairy after 6 months—helps to “lower risk of asthma” for children.
There are four primary DGA guidelines to follow a healthy dietary pattern at every life stage: customize and enjoy nutrient-dense food and beverage choices to reflect personal preferences, cultural traditions, and budgetary considerations, focus on meeting food group needs with nutrient-dense foods and beverages within calorie limits, limit foods and beverages higher in added sugars, saturated fat and sodium and limit alcoholic beverages.
To read the full report go to https://www.dietaryguidelines.gov/sites/default/files/2020-12/Dietary_Guidelines_for_Americans_2020-2025.pdf