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Food-based dietary guidelines

Food-based dietary guidelines - Costa Rica

Official name

Dietary guidelines for Costa Rica (Spanish: Guías alimentarias para Costa Rica).

Publication year

Costa Rica launched its first food-based dietary guidelines in 1997. A revised version was published in 2010.

Process and stakeholders

The Intersectoral Commission on Dietary Guidelines (composed of various government ministries, the national nutrition institute, universities, and the Institute of Nutrition of Central America and Panama) led the development of the dietary guidelines. They are endorsed by the Ministry of Health.

Since 2012 Costa Rica has had an executive decree establishing a regulation whereby canteens and tuck-shops in public schools can only sell and advertise foods consistent with the messages of the dietary guidelines. In 2013 an executive decree established a national day of fruit and vegetables to support the dietary guidelines’ recommendation on fruit and vegetable consumption.

Intended audience

The guidelines are directed at the healthy population over the age of 2 years.

Food guide

Costa Rica uses the healthy eating circle, which is divided into four food groups: cereals, legumes and starchy vegetables; vegetables and fruits; animal-source foods; fats and sugars. Water and images of physical activity are placed outside of the circle.

Messages

  • A diet is healthy when it is varied, hygienic and natural.
  • Maintain a healthy weight.
  • Eat rice and beans; they are the basis of the everyday diet.
  • Eat at least five servings of fruits and vegetables of different colours every day.
  • Choose foods low in animal fat.
  • Choose healthy fats (unsaturated fats preferably).
  • Eat less sugar.
  • Drink water every day (between 6 and 8 cups).
  • Reduce salt intake.
  • Be physically active every day.
  • Share meals in a tranquil atmosphere.

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