269422 Food fights: The history and politics of vegetarian dietary guidance in the U.S. Dietary Guidelines

Wednesday, October 31, 2012 : 9:15 AM - 9:30 AM

Amy Joy Lanou, PhD , Department of Health and Wellness, University of North Carolina Asheville, Asheville, NC
Susan Levin, RD, MPH , Nutrition Education Department, Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine, Washinton, DC
In 1977, the US Senate released Dietary Goals that included a recommendation to “decrease the consumption of meat.” This statement was strongly opposed by food producers, manufacturers and industry associations. The language was revised to read “choose meats, poultry and fish which will reduce saturated fat intake” and the report was re-released. Shortly thereafter, the 1980 Dietary Guidelines for Americans were formulated, taking great care to offer the public advice that would not create a political backlash. Since that time, consumer advocates, researchers and health promoters have used various strategies to urge Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committees, the Department of Health and Human Services and the United States Department of Agriculture to issue evidence-based dietary guidance that refocuses in on foods and dietary patterns (rather than nutrients) and that puts vegetarian diets at the center of the plate. This presentation will address lessons learned in these efforts and key strategies for continued work to update Dietary Guidelines for Americans to be consistent with the evidence that diets built wholly or largely from plant foods are health-giving and with national programs and policies to reduce chronic disease. Concerted efforts over the last few decades have resulted in federal dietary guidance that is more inclusive of vegetarian eating styles.

Learning Areas:
Public health or related laws, regulations, standards, or guidelines

Learning Objectives:
Discuss the history and politics of vegetarian dietary guidance in the Dietary Guidelines for Americans. Identify potentially successful strategies for influencing the revisions of the Dietary Guidelines for Americans. Evaluate the current federal dietary guidance on vegetarian diets.

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: Over the last 12 years I have been involved with academic and consumer organizations that work to improve federal nutrition messages for the public.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.