The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the Department of Health and Human Sciences (HHS) released the new Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2020-2025. These guidelines provide science-based guidance on what to eat and drink to promote health, meet nutrient needs, and help reduce the risk of chronic disease.

While the foods and beverages we consume have a profound impact on our health, Americans still do not follow a healthy dietary pattern. Most Americans have dietary patterns low in vegetables, fruits, and dairy and exceed the limit for added sugar, saturated fat, and sodium. The Healthy Eating Index (HEI) measures how closely our food and beverage choices align with the Dietary Guidelines. The HEI score is the highest for older adults scoring 63 out of 100, but overall, every age group still falls short.

Virginia Aparicio is Health and Human Science educator with Purdue Extension Elkhart County. She can be reached at 574-533-0554 or

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