Review of the Process to Update the Dietary Guidelines for Americans

Type: Consensus Study
Topics: Education, Food and Nutrition
Board: Food and Nutrition Board

Activity Description


An ad hoc committee will undertake an 18-month study to review the entire process used to establish the Advisory Committee for the Dietary Guidelines for Americans (DGA) and the subsequent development of the DGA, most recently revised pursuant to section 301 of the National Nutrition Monitoring and Related Research Act of 1990 (7 U.S.C. 5341). The committee will review the current processes for each of the following: 

  1. How the advisory committee selection process can be improved to provide more transparency, eliminate bias, and include committee members with a range of viewpoints; 
  2. How the Nutrition Evidence Library (NEL) is compiled and utilized, including whether NEL reviews and other systematic reviews and data analysis are conducted according to rigorous and objective scientific standards; 
  3. How systematic reviews are conducted on long-standing DGA recommendations, including whether scientific studies are included from scientists with a range of viewpoints; and 
  4. How the DGA can better prevent chronic disease, ensure nutritional sufficiency for all Americans, and accommodate a range of individual factors, including age, gender, and metabolic health. 

The committee will produce a short report that includes a review of question 1 and, as needed, recommendations based on existing best practices for selecting a scientific advisory committee to inform development of the DGA. A final report will be produced that includes the committee's review of questions 2-4 and, as needed, recommendations based on existing practices for: conducting and/or including rigorous and objective nutrition systematic reviews and other data analyses to support the development of the DGA; supporting an expanded lifespan approach, specifically dietary guidance for infants up to 24 months and pregnant women (per the Agricultural Act of 2014); effectively applying the DGA to prevent diet-related chronic disease in the U.S. using existing implementation and evaluation frameworks; and identifying the role of the DGA in coordinating with and supporting nutrition guidance for disease treatment (that may also address age, gender, metabolic health, and nutritional sufficiency) developed by other Federal agencies.  The committee's recommendations will conform to the specifications of the National Nutrition Monitoring and Related Research Act (NNMRRA), Federal Advisory Committee Act, Data Quality Act, and align with the current infrastructure, availability of resources, and collaborative relationships led by the USDA-Center for Nutrition Policy and Promotion (study sponsor) and HHS Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion. The committee will not conduct systematic reviews of nutrition science, nor evaluate the content or scientific justification of current or previous editions of the DGA.



Feedback is accepted at anytime throughout the duration of the study at Written materials submitted to a study committee by external sources are listed in the project's public access file in full, including names and email addresses, and can be made available to the public upon request.  Contact the Public Access Records Office (PARO) for a copy of the list and to obtain copies of the materials.  Copies of materials are free to the press and government employees.  Please send an email or call PARO to make a request or an inquiry.  

Public Access Records Office
The National Academies
Washington DC  20001
Tel: 202.334.3543
FAX: 202.334.2158


As of March 2016, the Health and Medicine Division continues the consensus studies and convening activities previously undertaken by the Institute of Medicine (IOM).

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