Progress of food-based dietary guidelines around the globe
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Dietary guidelines have been developed worldwide in an effort to assist populations with healthy food choices. The guidelines may be food or nutrient based and are commonly focused on particular health concerns of the country such as overweight and obesity. There is a large degree of variability in the development of dietary guidelines around the world; some countries have opted for one guideline for all, whereas other countries have developed multiple subsets of guidelines related to particular population groups. The provision of dietary guidelines of a country is not regulated though they are a recommended approach that has been suggested by the World Health Organization (WHO) as one of the two international organizations supporting such activities. The WHO, alongside the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), acknowledge that it has long been known that particular nutrients are needed to sustain human health and well-being, and work to disseminate nutrient information to countries in an effort to encourage the development of national dietary allowances for these nutrients. Such nutrient allowances may directly form dietary guidelines of a nutrientfocused nature; though stemming from such developments, countries may also work toward practical approaches of how to translate the nutrient information into everyday practice, an approach often seeing the development of food-based dietary guidelines. This chapter provides an overview to some of the existing dietary guidelines available around the globe. Where a country regularly updates its dietary guidelines, a comparison of the most recent sets of guidelines will also be addressed. The focus of the dietary guidelines also varies between countries with some developed directly for the general public and others specifically targeted at health professionals to assist with consistency of education messages utilized within the country. The guidelines reviewed will be those available as the most recent guidelines published in the English language. The guidelines currently undergoing an update have not been included.