About Publications

Publications from the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine provide objective and straightforward advice to decision makers and the public. This site includes Health and Medicine Division (HMD) publications released after 1998. A complete list of HMD’s publications from its establishment in 1970 to the present is available as a PDF.


  • Cross-Sector Responses to Obesity: Workshop in Brief ... Released: December 01, 2014
    On September 30, 2014, the Roundtable on Obesity Solutions held a 1-day workshop titled “Cross-Sector Work on Obesity Prevention, Treatment, and Weight Maintenance: Models for Change.” The workshop was designed to explore models of cross-sector work that may reduce the prevalence and consequences of obesity, discuss lessons learned from case studies of cross-sector initiatives, and spur future cross-sector collaboration. The first half of the workshop examined four considerations important to cross-sector work: health equity, sustainability, leadership, and measurement. The second half of the workshop examined five case studies that represent cross-sector collaboratives at different levels of organization, from the tribal and regional to the county, state, and national levels.
  • Relationships Among the Brain, the Digestive System, and ... Released: September 01, 2014
    On July 9-10, 2014, the Institute of Medicine’s (IOM’s) Food Forum hosted a public workshop to explore emerging and rapidly developing research on relationships between the brain, digestive system, and eating behavior. The figure below illustrates the complex relationships between the brain, digestive system, and eating behavior and the influence of biology and the environment.
  • The Current State of Obesity Solutions in the United States ... Released: June 12, 2014
    For the first time in decades, promising news has emerged regarding efforts to curb the obesity crisis in the United States. For example, obesity rates have fallen among low-income children in several states, the prevalence of obesity has plateaued among girls, and targeted efforts in some states have reduced the prevalence of obesity among children. Yet major problems remain. Diseases associated with obesity continue to incur substantial costs and cause widespread human suffering. In 2013 the IOM formed the Roundtable on Obesity Solutions to engage leadership from multiple sectors in addressing the obesity crisis. In January 2014, the roundtable held its first public workshop which featured presentations that described interventions designed to prevent and treat obesity in different settings.
  • Sustainable Diets: Food for Healthy People and a Healthy ... Released: February 10, 2014
    While one of the many benefits of the U.S. food system is a safe, nutritious, and consistent food supply, that same system also places significant strain on land, water, air, and other natural resources. A better understanding of the food-environment synergies and trade-offs associated with the U.S. food system would be one way to help reduce this strain. Part of the challenge is that experts in the fields of nutrition, agricultural science, and natural resource use do not regularly collaborate with each other. In order to bring together experts in these fields, the IOM’s Food Forum and Roundtable on Environmental Health Sciences, Research, and Medicine held a workshop May 7-8, 2013.
  • The Current State of Obesity Solutions in the United States ... Released: February 03, 2014
    On January 7, 2014, the newly formed Roundtable on Obesity Solutions of the Institute of Medicine (IOM) held its first public event, a half-day workshop titled “The Current State of Obesity Solutions in the United States.” The purpose of the roundtable, which includes representatives from public health, health care, government, the food industry, education, philanthropy, the nonprofit sector, and academia, is to engage leadership from multiple sectors to discuss potential solutions to the obesity crisis. Through meetings, public workshops, background papers, and innovation collaboratives, the roundtable will foster an ongoing dialogue about critical and emerging implementation, policy, and research topics to accelerate progress in obesity prevention and care.
  • Caffeine in Food and Dietary Supplements: Examining Safety ... Released: January 17, 2014
    Caffeine is arguably the most ingested pharmacologically active substance in the world and has been a part of many cultures for centuries. But the caffeine-in food landscape is quickly changing. Along with energy drinks and supplements, the array of new caffeine-containing products is rapidly expanding. Historically, scientific research has shown that moderate consumption naturally-occurring caffeine in coffee and tea by healthy adults is not associated with adverse health effects. However, the inclusion of caffeine in products such as soft drinks and other beverages, foods, and supplements raises concerns about safety, whether new products target populations not normally associated with high caffeine consumption – like children and adolescents – and whether caffeine poses a greater health risk to those populations. The IOM held a workshop August 5-6, 2013, to review the available science on safe levels of caffeine consumption in foods, beverages, and dietary supplements and to identify data gaps.
  • Creating Equal Opportunities for a Healthy Weight - Workshop ... Released: November 25, 2013
    The 2012 IOM report Accelerating Progress in Obesity Prevention identified five environments in which change is needed to accelerate progress in obesity prevention. Each of these settings -physical activity, food and beverage, messaging, health care and worksites, and schools– interact with the others, creating a set of interconnected systems that can be changed only through engagement, leadership, and action among many groups and at many levels. The IOM Standing Committee on Childhood Obesity Prevention held a workshop to examine the role of the many factors that contribute to health disparities and to explore ways to create equity.
  • Leveraging Action to Support Dissemination of Pregnancy ... Released: September 16, 2013
    Along with recommending revised pregnancy weight gain guidelines, the 2009 IOM and National Research Council (NRC) report, Weight Gain During Pregnancy: Reexamining the Guidelines, identified evidence that preconception counseling and certain practices, such as charting weight gain during pregnancy, can help women stay within the recommended guidelines. However, many women still do not receive adequate pre- or post-conception advice about weight and pregnancy weight gain. Many women and their health professionals remain unaware of the recommended pregnancy weight guidelines and even those women who are aware of the guidelines may find it difficult to obtain guidance to help them achieve those guidelines. The IOM and NRC held a workshop to present a range of dissemination products, and discuss communication and implementation of recommended guidelines for healthy pregnancy weight gain.
  • Evaluating Obesity Prevention Efforts: A Plan for Measuring ... Released: August 02, 2013
    Obesity poses one of the greatest public health challenges of the 21st century, creating serious health, economic, and social consequences. Despite acceleration in efforts to characterize, comprehend, and act on this problem, further understanding is needed on the progress and effectiveness of implemented preventive interventions. An IOM committee developed a concise and actionable plan for measuring the nation’s progress in obesity prevention efforts. This report offers a framework that will provide guidance for systematic and routine planning, implementation, and evaluation of the advancement of obesity prevention efforts.
  • Nutrition Education in the K-12 Curriculum: The Role of ... Released: July 15, 2013
    With approximately one-third of America’s young people overweight or obese, the childhood obesity epidemic is an urgent public health problem. The 2012 IOM report, Accelerating Progress in Obesity Prevention: Solving the Weight of the Nation, recommended making schools a focal point for obesity prevention. The development and implementation of K-12 nutrition curriculum benchmarks, guides, or standards would constitute a critical step in achieving this recommendation. The IOM held a workshop to discuss the merits and potential uses of a set of national nutrition education curriculum standards and learning objectives for elementary and secondary school children.