2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines Report

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) jointly publish the Dietary Guidelines for Americans (Dietary Guidelines) every 5 years. The Dietary Guidelines provides evidence-based food and beverage recommendations for Americans ages 2 and older. 

These recommendations aim to:

  • Promote health
  • Prevent chronic disease
  • Help people reach and maintain a healthy weight

About half of all American adults—117 million individuals—have one or more preventable, chronic diseases, and about two-thirds of U.S. adults—nearly 155 million individuals—are overweight or obese. Poor dietary patterns, over consumption of calories, and physical inactivity directly contribute to these disorders.  Individual nutrition and physical activity behaviors and other health-related lifestyle behaviors are strongly influenced by personal, social, organizational, and environmental contexts and systems. Positive changes in individual diet and physical activity behaviors, and in the environmental contexts and systems that affect them, could substantially improve health outcomes.

Key Findings:

A healthy eating pattern includes vegetables, fruits, whole grains, fat-free or low-fat dairy, protein including seafood, lean meats, poultry, legumes, and nuts, and oils. It is recommended that saturated fats, trans fats, added sugar, and sodium are limited. Alcohol should also be limited and consumed in moderation (up to 1 drink/day for women and 2 drinks/day for men). 

Click here to read the full report or the Executive Summary which gives an overview of the findings and recommendations.




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2008 Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) issues the Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans. The content of the Physical Activity Guidelines complements the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, a joint effort of HHS and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA).

The Physical Activity Guidelines is an essential resource for health professionals and policymakers. This information may also be useful to members of the public. The current edition includes recommendations for Americans ages 6 years and over and provides science-based advice on how physical activity can help promote health and reduce the risk of chronic disease. The Guidelines serves as the primary, authoritative voice of the federal government for evidence-based guidance on physical activity, fitness, and health for Americans.

Below are the recommended levels of daily activity for Adults and Children. Click here to read the full report or the summary for further information.

Key Guidelines for Adults

  • All adults should avoid inactivity. Some physical activity is better than none, and adults who participate in any amount of physical activity gain some health benefits.
  • For substantial health benefits, adults should do at least 150 minutes (2 hours and 30 minutes) a week of moderate-intensity, or 75 minutes (1 hour and 15 minutes) a week of vigorous-intensity aerobic activity, or an equivalence combination of moderate- and vigorous-intensity aerobic activity. Aerobic activity should be performed in episodes of at least 10 minutes, and preferably, it should be spread throughout the week.
  • For additional and more extensive health benefits, adults should increase their aerobic physical activity to 300 minutes (5 hours) a week of moderate-intensity, or 150 minutes a week of vigorous-intensity aerobic physical activity, or an equivalence combination of moderate- and vigorous-intensity activity. Additional health benefits are gained by engaging in physical activity beyond this amount.
  • Adults also should do muscle-strengthening activities that are moderate- or high-intensity and involve all major muscle groups on 2 or more days a week, as these activities provide additional health benefits.

Key Guidelines for Children and Adolescents

  • Children and adolescents should do 60 minutes (1 hour) or more of physical activity daily.
  • Aerobic: Most of the 60 or more minutes a day should be either moderate- or vigorous-intensity aerobic physical activity, and should include vigorous-intensity physical activity at least 3 days a week.
  • Muscle-strengthening: As part of their 60 or more minutes of daily physical activity, children and adolescents should include muscle-strengthening physical activity on at least 3 days of the week.
  • Bone-strengthening: As part of their 60 or more minutes of daily physical activity, children and adolescents should include bone-strengthening physical activity on at least 3 days of the week.
  • It is important to encourage young people to participate in physical activities that are appropriate for their age, that are enjoyable, and that offer variety.