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.