I would like to share a few posts related to my doctoral studies. Some of you know I am in doctoral school at UNC-Greensboro in Communication Sciences Disorders with a concentration in nutrition. I thought I would share some of what I am learning about nutrition. Most of the research I have read this semester has pertained to typically developing children with a focus on nutritional issues facing children especially obesity/obesity prevention. I am reading many of these articles with the eye of a feeding therapist and how some of this research might be applied to our population of children who may be in the opposite situation of malnutrition or certainly experience poor nutrition related to how they eat. As feeding therapists tasked with improving diet, we really do not get much training, if any, on child nutrition. I hope to work on that aspect of our training. This first post pertains to the newly revised dietary guidelines which now includes more specific recommendations for children and pregnant mothers. Please read if this interests you! Krisi
2020-2025 Dietary Guidelines for American “Make Every Bite Count”
The revised Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2020-2025 are called “Make Every Bite Count with the Dietary Guidelines” an emphasize that “it’s never too early, or too late, to eat well” (DGA, Dietary Guidelines for Americans, 2021). The Dietary Guidelines for Americans (DGA) form the basis for federal nutrition policy and are used in developing standards for federal nutrition programs, nutrition education, and in research needs (Tuma, 2019). There are several key changes in the revised DGA, which include guidelines for lactating women and children, suggested limitations for nutrients and foods, and an emphasis on healthy habits.
According to Tuma (2019), the US Department of Agriculture and the US Department of Health and Human Services, under a new congressionally mandated effort, developed dietary guidance for children aged birth to 24 months (2019) and for women who are pregnant or lactating. According to the DGA’s website, “this is the first set of guidelines that provide guidance for healthy dietary patterns by life stage, from birth through older adulthood, and for the first time, there are chapters devoted to each life stage, including chapters on infants and toddlers and women who are pregnant or lactating”(National wic association, 2020).
In an effort to provide evidenced based nutrition recommendations, the DGA team worked with the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (Tuma, 2019). For infants, the revised guidelines recommend a minimum of 6 months for exclusive breast feeding or feeding human milk; when human milk is not available, an infant should receive an iron fortified formula. Infants that are entirely or mostly breast fed should receive vitamin D supplementation. Parents are encouraged to use a responsive feeding approach with infants and feed based on hunger and satiety cues. Complementary foods should be introduced around 6 months of age and parents are encouraged to offer a variety foods and include foods rich in iron and zinc, particularly for infants fed human milk.
For the first time, the guidelines address food allergy and include recommendations to introduce babies to potentially allergic foods such as peanuts, eggs, tree nuts, seafood, dairy, and wheat to prevent food allergies around 6 months (Mission mightyme, 2020). “The report also specifically encourages peanut introduction in the first year of life to reduce the risk of peanut allergy” (Mission mightyme, 2020).
The DGA 2020-2025 also makes recommendations for what children shouldn’t have including any sugar before the age of 2. The recommendations include specific limitations on nutrients and food intake in children in reference to added sugars, saturated fat, and sodium. The guidelines suggest the following; limit added sugars to less than 10 percent of calories per day for anyone aged 2 years and older and avoid added sugars completely for infants and toddlers; limit saturated fat to less than 10 percent of calories per day starting at age 2 years; limit sodium to less than 2,300 milligrams per day starting at age 2 (McCarthy, 2021).
The 2020-2025 guidelines emphasize healthy habits with the understanding that early eating sets up habits for life. The DGA recommends that children eat vegetables, fruits, grains, protein, and healthy oils with limited sugar, saturated fats, and sodium. They emphasize healthy snacks, appropriate portion sizes for children (as seen on myplate.gov) and a balanced diet (McCarthy, 2021).
Dietary Guidelines for Americans, 2021. Retrieved from
https://www.dietaryguidelines.gov/most-popular-questions on March 27, 2021.
Tuma P. A. (2019). Dietary Guidelines 2020-2025: Update on Academy Efforts. Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, 119(4), 672–674. https://doi.org/10.1016/ j.jand.2018.05.007
National wic association: usda and hhs announce dietary guidelines for americans, 2020-2025. (2020). Targeted News Service, (dec 31, 2020).
Mission mightyme provides solutions to new usda, hhs dietary guidelines for Americans 2020-2025, addressing infant health and food allergy prevention for the first time. (2020). Pr Newswire, (dec 30, 2020).
McCarthy, C. (2021). New dietary guidelines: Any changes for infants, children, and teens? Retrieved from https://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/new-dietary-guidelines-any- changes-for-infants-children-and-teens-2021012621831 on March 28, 2021.
Barbara Coven-Ellis says
Thank you for this!
This has been an ongoing concern of mine for a variety of reasons. My mother was a high school Home Ec teacher and her degree focused on nutrition. I learned so much from her but I was a kid and just assumed everyone learned these things from their moms! It wasn’t until years later that I understood just how lucky I was to get all that foundational nutritional information as a kid.
I would love to see a basic nutrition course added to medical SLP education. We work with so many families with birth to young adult kids, having a better understanding of basic nutrition and teaching families how to implement it within the environment of their kids challenges could positively impact the whole family unit.