Purpose of dietary guidelines They form the basis of federal nutrition policies and programs, support nutrition education initiatives, guide local, state, and national health promotion and disease prevention initiatives, and inform diverse organizations and industries. It increases the purchasing power of eligible households with benefits that can be used to purchase food at authorized grocery stores and farmers markets across the country. The nature of dietary guidance, which provides advice on which foods and nutrients should be eaten more or less, has remained relatively constant; however, the specific messages have changed as the process used to create dietary guidelines has evolved as nutrition science has progressed and the methods used to review science have advanced. The USDA provides critical nutrition assistance through Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) programs that include child nutrition programs, the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) and emergency food assistance, among many other programs.
To help people lose weight, maintain a healthy weight and prevent chronic diseases by improving eating habits, it is necessary to provide education on diet and nutrition, ensure access to healthier food options, and promote the desire and capacity for physical activity. These include food stamps, the WIC program (for women, infants and children), the school lunch program, and the SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program). The Department of Agriculture's food icon, MyPlate, serves as a reminder to help people make healthier food choices. Focus on meeting the needs of food groups with nutrient-rich foods and beverages and stay within calorie limits.
For example, FNS food distribution programs distribute food purchased by the USDA to low-income schoolchildren and families, emergency food programs, Indian reservations, and the elderly.