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.


  • Nanotechnology in Food Products. Workshop Summary ... Released: October 29, 2009
    Nanotechnology—an emerging technology that enables researchers to manipulate matter at the atomic level—is providing scientists with the ability to enhance food safety and make foods more nutritious and satisfying by enhancing their nutrition content and other characteristics. On December 10, 2008, the Institute of Medicine held a one-day workshop to explore the use of nanotechnology in food products. These presentations and discussions are summarized in the IOM’s Nanotechnology in Food Products.
  • Community Perspectives on Obesity Prevention in Children. ... Released: October 21, 2009
    Childhood obesity has increased dramatically over the past several decades. Recent statistics show that nearly one-third of U.S. children and adolescents are overweight or obese. Increasingly, policy makers are recognizing that environmental factors affect individual behaviors related to food and physical activity. Communities have made efforts to improve these factors in diverse settings and with diverse populations, resulting in many promising approaches. Overall, however, these efforts remain fragmented, and little is known about their effectiveness. To better understand the successes and challenges of these initiatives, the IOM’s Food and Nutrition Board held two workshops in June 2008 and May 2009.
  • Childhood Obesity Prevention in Texas. Workshop Summary ... Released: October 21, 2009
    The United States is experiencing an epidemic of childhood obesity. This problem could potentially affect the health of the U.S. population for decades to come, incurring substantial costs to the nation. In particular, Texas is home to three of the five U.S. cities with the highest obesity rates in the nation. The statistics on childhood obesity, demographics, size, and the efforts being made to prevent and reduce obesity in Texas all factored into the Food and Nutrition Board's decision to hold a workshop in Austin, Texas, on February 5-6, 2009. Childhood Obesity Prevention in Texas summarizes the workshop.
  • School Meals: Building Blocks for Healthy Children : Health ... Released: October 20, 2009
    The National School Lunch Program and the School Breakfast Program play key roles in supporting the nutrition and health of schoolchildren in the United States by providing nutritionally balanced, low-cost or free lunches each school day. While school meals must meet standards established in 1995, advances have been made in dietary guidance in the years since. At the request of the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), the Institute of Medicine convened a committee to provide recommendations to revise standards and requirements so that school meals are more healthful.
  • Local Government Actions to Prevent Childhood Obesity ... Released: September 01, 2009
    In the United States, 16.3 percent of children and adolescents between the ages of two and 19 are obese. The prevalence of obesity is so high that it may reduce the life expectancy of today’s generation of children and diminish the overall quality of their lives. Local governments can play a crucial role in creating environments that make it easier for children to eat healthy diets and move more. The 2009 report Local Government Actions to Prevent Childhood Obesity presents a menu of recommended action steps for local government officials to consider in their efforts to prevent childhood obesity in their community.
  • The Public Health Effects of Food Deserts - Workshop ... Released: June 25, 2009
    In the United States, people living in low-income neighborhoods frequently do not have access to affordable healthy food venues, such as supermarkets. Instead, those living in “food deserts” must rely on convenience stores and small neighborhood stores that offer few, if any, healthy food choices, such as fruits and vegetables. The Institute of Medicine (IOM) and National Research Council (NRC) convened a two-day workshop on January 26-27, 2009, to provide input into a Congressionally-mandated food deserts study by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Economic Research Service. The workshop provided a forum in which to discuss the public health effects of food deserts.
  • Weight Gain During Pregnancy: Reexamining the Guidelines ... Released: May 28, 2009
    It has been nearly two decades since guidelines for how much weight a woman should gain during pregnancy were issued by the Institute of Medicine. In that time, more research has been conducted on the effects of weight gain in pregnancy on the health of both mother and baby. There have also been dramatic changes in the population of women having babies. Given these changes, the IOM’s 2009 report Weight Gain During Pregnancy: Reexamining the Guidelines examines weight gain during pregnancy from the perspective that factors that affect pregnancy begin before conception and continue through the first year after delivery.
  • Managing Food Safety Practices from Farm to Table ... Released: April 22, 2009
    Legal regulations and manufacturers’ monitoring practices have not been enough to prevent contamination of the national food supply and protect consumers from serious harm. In addressing food safety risks, regulators could perhaps better ensure the quality and safety of food by monitoring food production not just at a single point in production but all along the way, from farm to table. Recognizing the troubled state of food safety, the Institute of Medicine’s (IOM) Food Forum met in Washington, DC, on September 9, 2008, to explore the management of food safety practices from the beginning of the supply chain to the marketplace.
  • Review of the Use of Process Control Indicators in the FSIS ... Released: March 20, 2009
    The United States Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) is the government agency responsible for ensuring the safety of America’s supply of meat, poultry, and egg products. In an effort to improve its inspection system, FSIS has proposed to modify the allocation of its inspection resources by establishing criteria to rank, based on public health risk, slaughtering and processing establishments. Before implementing the proposed inspection system, FSIS asked the Institute of Medicine (IOM) to evaluate the system, particularly the criteria for ranking slaughtering and processing establishments. In its 2009 letter report Review of the Use of Process Control Indicators in the FSIS Public Health Risk-Based Inspection System, the IOM committee concurs with the use of the risk-based inspection system but makes several recommendations to improve the process.
  • Nutrition Standards and Meal Requirements for National ... Released: December 03, 2008
    The national nutrition standards and meal requirements for the National School Breakfast and National School Lunch Program meals were created more than a decade ago, making them out of step with recent guidance about children’s diets. At the request of U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), the Institute of Medicine assembled a committee to recommend updates and revisions to the school lunch and breakfast programs. The first part of the committee’s work is reflected in the December 2008 IOM report Nutrition Standards and Meal Requirements for National School Lunch and Breakfast Programs: Phase I. Proposed Approach for Recommending Revisions.