For the first time in decades, federal dietary guidelines for infants and pregnant women are being established to help combat the growing obesity epidemic.

Every five years since 1980, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and the U.S. Department of Agriculture have issued nutritional guideline recommendations for the general public, but now the agencies will be rolling out guidelines that specifically target infants up to age two and pregnant women.

photo: Jacob Sippel via U.S. Navy

A team is currently drafting the recommendations that will be released in 2020. The addition comes on the heels of a Harvard University study, which predicts that 57 percent of children today will be obese by age 35 and that the path to obesity can begin before age two.

It’s too soon to know exactly what the guidelines will include, but according to Lucy Sullivan, founder of the nonprofit 1,000 Days, she believes this new addition will make a big impact on the health of babies and expectant moms.

—Shahrzad Warkentin

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