The West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources, Bureau for Public Health announced the release of the updated Dietary Guidelines for Americans for 2020-2025, Make Every Bite Count.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), in coordinance with U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, provides updated, science-based nutrition recommendations every five years, which are designed to promote healthy dietary patterns from birth through older adulthood. This marks the first time the Dietary Guidelines have provided recommendations for infants and toddlers, showing that good nutrition matters at every age and every stage.
“The Dietary Guidelines are an integral part of the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC),” said Heidi Staats, Director of the West Virginia WIC Program. “These guidelines not only impact nutrition education messages and WIC food packages, but also serve as the basis of several dietary risk criteria establishing eligibility for WIC.”
The updated guidelines give the public up-to-date, evidence-based information on how to promote a healthier lifestyle with balanced dietary patterns. The four main strategies encouraging Americans to Make Every Bite Count are:
• Following a healthy dietary pattern at every life stage.
• Customizing and enjoying nutrient-dense food and beverage choices to reflect personal preferences, cultural traditions, and budgetary considerations.
• Focusing on meeting food group needs with nutrient-dense foods and beverages from five food groups – vegetables, fruits, grains, dairy and fortified soy alternatives, and proteins and staying within calorie limits.
• Limiting foods and beverages higher in added sugars, saturated fat, and sodium, and limiting alcoholic beverages.
WIC provides pregnant, breastfeeding, and postpartum women, infants, and children up to age 5 with nutritious, supplemental foods. The program also provides nutrition and breastfeeding education and referrals to health and social services. The West Virginia WIC Program builds its public health nutrition services from the Dietary Guidelines for Americans.
Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, the West Virginia WIC Program continues to offer virtual certification and benefit issuance, as well as virtual nutrition and breastfeeding education.