How are over 100 countries around the world advising their populations to eat? Check out this FAO site!

jamiepopeauthor
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How does dietary guidance for populations from around the world compare to the US Dietary Guidelines for Americans? The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) provides easy access to food-based guidelines for over 100 countries.  Exploring these guidelines provides students with the opportunity to explore the health, cultural, agricultural, environmental, and even political aspects of how government agencies advise their population to eat. Most countries have also developed visual depictions like pyramids and plates to provide dietary advice.  I would be happy to share a slide presentation that provides a brief overview of the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, but then asks students to explore other countries (just email me at jpopenutrition@gmail.com!).  Organized by region of the world, it's interesting to discuss how the language, specifics, and emphasis of guidelines compare.  Chapter 2 in Nutrition for a Changing World introduces food guides around the world, but can be used as an end of semester activity to consider the many aspects of healthy diets.  Here are a few questions to consider:

  • Do you notice cultural, agricultural, or health/nutrition concerns reflected in the messages?
  • How do the messages differ from the DGA?
  • How are the messages similar to the DGA?
  • How does the food guide icon differ from the US MyPlate?

Common to all countries are recommendations to consume more plant-based foods and to reduce intake of saturated fats, added sugars, and sodium.  Here's a recent article of interest from the British Medical Journal to share with students - The healthiness and sustainability of national and global food based dietary guidelines: modelling s... The article explores how countries are doing in meeting dietary guidelines - spoiler:   not very well at all.  

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About the Author
Jamie Pope, a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist and Adjunct Assistant Professor at Vanderbilt University, has worked in the areas of obesity research, health promotion, heart disease prevention, and since 2000 teaching introductory nutrition. Beyond the classroom, she adapted portions of her nutrition courses to produce a Massive Open Online Course attracting more than 175,000 participants from around the world. This experience earned Jamie an Innovation in Teaching award from the Vanderbilt University School of Nursing. She is the co-author of the textbook entitled Nutrition for a Changing World. Now in its second edition, the text is in use in over 140 universities across the U.S. and the recipient of a 2020 Textbook Excellence Award. Most recently she developed and produced an audio course for Learn25.com (Nutrition 101: Understanding the Science and Practice of Eating Well) that is also featured on platforms like Apple Books and Audible. Jamie holds a Master’s of Science degree in Nutrition and post graduate work in Health Psychology. She is a Fellow of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. Jamie is an active member and serves on the board of the Textbook and Academic Authors Association. She has authored or contributed to numerous scientific and popular press publications. Jamie also held several corporate positions, serving as nutrition consultant and media representative.