On January 31, the new 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans (DGA) were released by the United States Department of Agriculture and the United States Department of Health and Human Services. The guidelines continue to encourage 3 daily servings of low-fat or fat-free milk and milk products for adults and children nine years and older. For children ages 4-8, the recommendation was increased from 2 to 2.5 servings, and for children ages 2-3, the recommendation remained at 2 servings.
Overall, the DGA recommendations were positive for dairy. The DGA emphasized the importance of establishing good milk drinking habits at a young age, as those who consume milk at an early age are more likely to do so as adults. According to the DGA, current evidence shows intake of milk and milk products is linked to improved bone health, especially in children and adolescents, and is associated with a reduced risk of cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, and lower blood pressure in adults. The dairy foods group contributes many nutrients that are important for good health and is the number one food source of three of the four nutrients the DGA identified as lacking in the American diet – calcium, vitamin D, and potassium.
The joint dairy industry statement and the 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans policy document are available online.