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Publication Abstract

Authors: Krebs-Smith SM, Reedy J, Bosire C

Title: Healthfulness of the U.S. food supply: little improvement despite decades of dietary guidance.

Journal: Am J Prev Med 38(5):472-7

Date: 2010 May

Abstract: BACKGROUND: Every 5 years for the past several decades, the USDHHS and the U.S. Department of Agriculture have issued and updated the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, which form the basis of federal nutrition policy and have shown remarkable consistency across various editions among the major themes. PURPOSE: This paper examines whether the U.S. food supply is sufficiently balanced to provide the recommended proportions of various foods and nutrients per the amount of energy, whether this balance has shifted over time, and which areas of the food supply may have changed more than others. METHODS: The Healthy Eating Index-2005 (HEI-2005) was used to measure the dietary quality of the U.S. food supply, from 1970 to 2007. Sources of data were the USDA's food availability data, loss-adjusted food availability data, and nutrient availability data, and the U.S. Salt Institute's data on salt sold for human consumption. RESULTS: Total HEI-2005 scores improved by about 10 points between 1970 and 2007, but they never achieved even 60 points on a scale from 0 to 100. Although meats and total grains were supplied generally in recommended proportions, total vegetables, total fruit, whole fruit, and milk were supplied in suboptimal proportions that changed very little over time. Saturated fat, sodium, and calories from solid fat, alcoholic beverages, and added sugars were supplied in varying degrees of unhealthy abundance over the years. Supplies of dark-green/orange vegetables and legumes and whole grains were entirely insufficient relative to recommendations, with virtually no change over time. CONCLUSIONS: Deliberate efforts on the part of policymakers, the agriculture sector, and the food industry are necessary to provide a supply of foods consistent with nutrition recommendations and to make healthy choices available to all.

Last Modified: 03 Sep 2013