New Dietary Guidelines for Americans urge seafood consumption

Published on
January 4, 2021

The new 2020-2025 Dietary Guidelines for Americans (DGA), released last week, encourage Americans to eat more seafood.

Notably, the new guidelines recommend Americans of all ages – particularly young children and pregnant women – eat seafood at least twice a week. 

For the first time, the DGA address the nutritional needs of babies and toddlers under two years old, recommending that seafood can – and should – be introduced to children when they are around six months old, the National Fisheries Institute said in a press release.

“Seafood intake during pregnancy is recommended, as it is associated with favorable measures of cognitive development in young children,” the DGA, developed by the United States Departments of Agriculture (USDA) and Health and Human Services (HHS), states.

For adults, seafood provides protein, calcium, and vitamin D, which help strengthen bones and maintain muscle mass, according to the DGA.

“We applaud the DGA 2020-2025 for developing new seafood consumption recommendations for children starting at six months of age. Seafood is an important food in healthy dietary patterns for kids and adults through the lifespan,” Tom Brenna, chair of Seafood Nutrition Partnership’s (SNP) Scientific and Nutrition Advisory Council and member of the 2015 Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee, said in a press release.

However, there is a “significant gap” between the amount of seafood Americans currently eat and the new recommendations, NFI said. Ninety-four percent of children and 80 percent of adults currently do not eat seafood twice per week. 

“Americans are still falling short of consuming the recommended amounts of seafood and we are hopeful that the launch of the DGA 2020-2025 will bring a renewed sense of urgency for Americans to include more seafood into their diets for its great taste and important nutrients,” SNP President Linda Cornish said.

Other recommendations included limiting saturated fat to less than 10 percent of calories per day starting at two years old and limiting sodium intake to less than 2,300 milligrams per day for those 14 years and younger. Sugar should also account for less than 10 percent of calories per day for those two years and older, and added sugars for infants and toddlers should be avoided.

Photo courtesy of New Africa/Shutterstock

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