The new dietary guidelines released by the federal government in late January urge Americans to increase their consumption of low-fat and fat-free dairy foods.

It’s not a matter of the government urging more dairy consumption from previously published guidelines, but rather an acknowledgement that Americans have not met the guidelines and need to catch up.

The 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans, released by the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the Department of Health and Human Services on Jan. 31, also call for consumption of more fruits, vegetables and whole grains, and less fats, sugar and sodium. The guidelines encourage three daily servings of low-fat or fat-free milk and milk products for  adults and children nine years and older. For children aged 4-8, the recommendation was  increased from two to 2.5 servings, and for children aged 2-3, the recommendation remains two servings.

Most Americans fail to meet these recommendations, even though they have been previously  established and supported by independent health organizations. The U.S. dairy industry and the federal government urge most Americans to add one more serving of low-fat and fat-free dairy products each day to fulfill the daily serving recommendations.