Dietary Guidelines: Positive and Negative Consequences

Introduction

Human health is directly related to nutrition patterns a person employs, and improper diet inevitably leads to pathological changes in vital functions. Healthy eating habits play a key role in the prevention and treatment of diseases of the heart, stomach, liver, kidneys, and so on. The purpose of this paper is to discuss one of the latest policy briefs on the topic of nutrition and specify the role of advanced practice nurse (APN) in advocating for the initial implementation.

Summary

The chosen policy brief provides insights into the initiative proposed by the federal government titled 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans (Goldman, 2016). The document dispels various myths regarding different types of foods, provides evidence on healthy eating habits, and equips stakeholders with recommendations on proper nutrition. It should be noted that the policy is regarded as a source of evidence for all nutrition policies across the country (Goldman, 2016).

In addition, the initiative contains valuable information, which healthcare specialists should consider when working with patients. Importantly, the updated guidelines stress the importance of consuming enough fruit and vegetables and cutting down on fat, sugar, and other potentially dangerous ingredients.

The document is the revised version of the guidelines proposed in 2010, and it offers the most relevant and up-to-date information on nutrition. In particular, the policy advises decreasing the intake of added sugars and increasing the consumption of coffee up to several cups per day (Goldman, 2016). As based on the latest evidence, it is highlighted that dietary cholesterol does not have an impact on blood cholesterol; therefore, US citizens may consume it in greater amounts than recommended earlier. Moreover, certain population groups are advised to reduce sodium intake while males should cut on protein consumption (Goldman, 2016). Further on, the policy provides nutrition guidelines for different groups based on age, sex, and lifestyle.

APN’s Position

APNs should advocate for the policy implementation for multiple reasons, and they need to use the brief as a guide to reaching better patient outcomes. In particular, the document is a revised version of the dietary guidelines, which means that it is based on the most recent and reliable evidence. Notably, some of the information published in the document of 2010 was not credible enough. In particular, research showed that the guidelines provided did not lead to changes in “fasting insulin, glucose, indexes of insulin resistance, or fasting lipids” (Krishnan et al., 2018, p. 266).

Therefore, it is the role of APNs to disseminate the updated evidence provided in the policy brief so that their patients can adjust their nutrition habits. Moreover, proper diet is key to healthy living, and APNs should raise the awareness of their patients in that matter and use insights provided in the initiative to substantiate their recommendations.

Impact

The main stakeholder groups as applied to the policy brief include not only ordinary US citizens and healthcare organizations but also policymakers, food producers, professional organizations, advocacy agencies, and the scientific community.

Thus, it may be assumed that the implementation of the initiative will have both positive and negative impacts on these parties. In particular, the positive effect will be experienced by the general public and healthcare professionals, which will be reflected in an improved patient and nursing outcomes (Millen et al., 2016). However, for the food sector and state-level agencies, the implementation of the guidelines implies increased costs and expenditures, which is a negative effect.

Therefore, it can be assumed that the possible positive consequences are connected to behavioral changes in US citizens and more effective healthcare services provided by specialists (for instance, by APNs). In this regard, professionals will use the policy as a source of information to introduce interventions (Millen et al., 2016). At the same time, the implementation of the initiative will require developing new policies by federal agencies and imposing new requirements on food producers, which implies increased expenditures for both parties.

Plan to Advocate for Policy Implementation

To advocate for the policy implementation, APNs should act both as educators and practitioners when they work with patients and other specialists and as administrators when they collaborate with agencies. Firstly, APNs should employ an approach aimed at achieving the continuum of care. It means that they should provide education to their patients in terms of proper nutrition, assist them in reaching behavioral changes, and conclude the process with follow-up (DeSalvo, Olson, & Casavale, 2016). Second, APNs should cooperate closely with other healthcare practitioners to achieve better patient outcomes.

Third, nurses should work closely with communities to disseminate the evidence discussed in the policy brief and raise health literacy and awareness among different population groups. Also, they need to provide residents with information regarding the services available to them and act as educators and consultants. Fourth, APNs should take on a leadership role to advocate for the patients at the state level and promote the interests of the general public by collaborating with ministries, the private sector, and agencies (Blaney, 2012). Therefore, nurses should act at different levels to be able to advocate for policy implementation effectively.

Conclusion

Thus, it can be concluded that the implementation of the updated dietary guidelines will bring both positive and negative consequences for different stakeholder groups. Nevertheless, APNs should advocate for their patients and acts as educators, care providers, and mediators between the general public and various agencies. Despite the possible financial burden on the state and the food industry, these measures are necessary since they will allow achieving behavioral alterations in US citizens and will result in a healthier nation in the long-term.

References

Blaney, P. (2012). Senior nursing leadership – capacity building at the global level. International Nursing Review, 59(1), 40-47.

DeSalvo, K. B., Olson, R., & Casavale, K. O. (2016). Dietary guidelines for Americans. Jama, 315(5), 457-458.

Goldman, T. R. (2016). Final 2015-2020 dietary guidelines for Americans. Web.

Krishnan, S., Adams, S. H., Allen, L. H., Laugero, K. D., Newman, J. W., Stephensen, C. B.,… Keim, N. L. (2018). A randomized controlled-feeding trial based on the dietary guidelines for Americans on cardiometabolic health indexes. The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 108(2), 266-278.

Millen, B. E., Abrams, S., Adams-Campbell, L., Anderson, C. A., Brenna, J. T., Campbell, W. W.,… Lichtenstein, A. H. (2016). The 2015 dietary guidelines Advisory Committee scientific report: Development and major conclusions. Advances in Nutrition, 7(3), 438-444.