2020-2025 Dietary Guidelines Encourage Seafood During All Life Stages

The below has been published with permission from the National Fisheries Institute.


2020-2025 Dietary Guidelines Encourage Seafood During All Life Stages

NFI’s Registered Dietitians were key resources during development of the new policy document resulting in positive seafood recommendations.

The United States Departments of Agriculture (USDA) and Health and Human Services (HHS) have released the 2020-2025 Dietary Guidelines for Americans (DGA).   The DGA are updated once every 5 years, and serve as the basis for federal nutrition programs as well as expert advice given by doctors and dietitian-nutritionists nationwide.  NFI’s two Registered Dietitians, Jennifer McGuire and Rima Kleiner, played an important role in the years-long Dietary Guidelines process by submitting science and testifying before the advisory committee.  Their input was a crucial component of today’s outcome on behalf of NFI’s members.

The new guidelines recommend Americans of all ages—particularly young children and pregnant women—eat seafood at least twice weekly.  For the first time, the DGA address the nutrition needs of babies and toddlers under two, recommending that seafood can—and should—be introduced beginning around age 6 months. 

The DGA encourage adults and children to eat seafood 2-3 times each week for the following benefits:

  • Seafood consumed regularly during pregnancy can help with brain development in babies.
  • Seafood starting at around age 6 months provides critical nutrients like iron and omega-3s that support brain development and immunity for babies and toddlers.  Additionally, starting seafood early can also help shape lifelong taste preferences, as well as healthful food choices.
  • For adults, seafood provides protein, calcium and vitamin D, which help strengthen bones and maintain muscle mass.

There is a significant gap between the amount of seafood Americans currently eat and the new recommendations – 94% of children and 80% of adults currently do not eat seafood twice per week.  The DGA stress that a wide range of health benefits are being left on the table because of low seafood consumption, and urge Americans to eat more.

You can play a role in helping to close this gap and improve public health by promoting messages grounded in the Dietary Guidelines.  Below, please find a series of tweets you can send directly or customize to promote the DGA seafood recommendations:

  • The new #DietaryGuidelines encourage Americans to eat #seafood (both fish and shellfish) 2-3 times per week. Eating more seafood is simple - find preparation advice, meal-planning tips & an entire free cookbook with 53 seafood recipes at @DishonFish https://dishonfish.com/ 

  • A major takeaway from the new #DietaryGuidelines is to start serving #seafood early. Learning to love seafood as a child not only provides (often-lacking) critical nutrients, it also helps shape lifelong taste preferences & healthful food choices... a win/win!

  • Public health experts urge Americans to eat more #seafood in the newly released #DietaryGuidelines. Seafood provides protein, calcium and vitamin D, which help strengthen bones and maintain muscle mass in adults. Seafood is also linked to healthy brain development in babies.

  • For the first time, the #DietaryGuidlines highlight the nutrition needs of babies and toddlers under 2, recommending that #seafood can be introduced beginning at 6 months. Nutrients in seafood, like omega-3 fatty acids, protein & vitamin D, are important for this age group!

  • Delicious nutrition update: the new #DietaryGuidelines urge Americans to eat #seafood 2-3 times each week, a recommendation met by less than 20% of people. Start 2021 on the right foot and make it your family's goal to eat #seafood 2-3 times each week!

On January 27, 2021 at 12:00pm EST, NFI will host a webinar that takes a deep dive into the new DGA.  The webinar will explore ways NFI members can use the recommendations to put more seafood on Americans’ plates.  You’ll hear from NFI Registered Dietitians who played a key role during the development of the DGA.  Without their work, the DGA would not be highlighting seafood as a food every single life stage needs to eat more of.  Make sure you’re registered for this webinar and the Virtual GSMC Conference and year-long Webinar Series.

Read more about today’s DGA announcement in NFI’s Press Release and Blog Post.