The Dietary Guidelines for Americans

January 26, 2015 The Dietary Guidelines for Americans What Are the Dietary Guidelines for Americans? The Dietary Guidelines for Americans (DGA) are federally developed food-based recommendations for Americans aged two and older, designed to promote health and prevent disease—a guidance on what and how much to eat. The DGA form the basis of federal nutrition policy, education, outreach, and food assistance programs. They provide the scientific basis for government recommendations and are used in the development of educational materials, messages, tools, and programs to communicate healthy eating and physical activity information to the public. There were seven DGAC meetings during the development of the 2015 guidelines, all of which were open to the public via webcast technology. Federal agencies and the public may submit comments electronically throughout the deliberation process (comment period closed December 30, 2014). Figure 1. The 2015 DGA Process: From Start to Finish All Federal dietary guidance for the public must be consistent with the Dietary Guidelines. The DGA are statutorily mandated under the 1990 National Nutrition Monitoring and Related Research Act (P.L. 101445, Title III, Section 301 [7 U.S.C. 5341]). They are reviewed, updated, and published every five years in a joint effort between the Departments of Health and Human Services (HHS) and Agriculture (USDA). The 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans is the most recent version of the policy document, and a new edition is to be published in the fall of 2015. Source: Figure created by CRS based on information from USDA Center for Nutrition Policy and Promotion. The DGAC Report The Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee In the first stage of DGA development, a Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee (DGAC) is chartered following Federal Advisory Committee Act (FACA) guidelines. In the fall of 2012, an announcement was published in the Federal Register seeking public nominations for the establishment of the DGAC for the 2015 guidelines (see Figure 1, Phase 1). The committee is composed of nationally recognized experts in the fields of human nutrition and chronic disease prevention. DGAC members are non-federal employees who are classified as special government employees (SGEs) for the duration of their appointment. Following committee selection, a notice listing appointed members is published in the Federal Register. During the development of the Dietary Guidelines, the DGAC holds a series of public meetings to review and discuss scientific evidence to support recommendations. Meeting information is announced in the Federal Register at least 15 days prior to the meeting. The DGAC uses systematic reviews, data analyses, and/or food pattern modeling analyses, as well as scientific evidence-based reports, input from guest speakers, and public comments to inform revision of existing recommendations or suggest new guidance. The DGAC also relies on the Nutrition Evidence Library (NEL), which was established by the USDA Center for Nutrition Policy and Promotion (CNPP) to objectively review, evaluate, and synthesize research to answer nutrition and health questions. When developing recommendations, the committee considers the existing Dietary Guidelines and examines how those recommendations compare to food consumption data. Based on those considerations, the DGAC may make certain recommendations (e.g., “Increase fruit and vegetable intake” or “Reduce intake of calories from solid fats and added sugars”). The DGAC then presents its recommendations in a scientific report to the Secretaries of HHS and USDA for use in updating the official Dietary Guidelines for Americans (see Figure 1, Phase 2). The DGAC Report is published in the Federal Register and made available to the https://crsreports.congress.gov The Dietary Guidelines for Americans public for comment. The Secretaries consider the DGAC’s scientific recommendations, as well as comments from federal agencies and the public, in the development of the final policy document. Timeline: 2015 Dietary Guidelines for Americans Development DGA Implementation—Impact on Federal Programs Fall 2012/Winter 2013 Agencies within HHS and USDA rely on DGA policy recommendations to make updates and changes to various nutrition programs. Spring/Summer 2013  HHS and USDA solicited nominations for the DGAC  DGAC were appointed  Programs Within HHS Request for public comments initiated  Work groups established to identify topic areas  The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)  DGAC held its first public meeting on June 13-14, 2013 implements programs that provide resources based on the DGA. Fall 2013/Winter 2014  The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) considers  aspects of the DGA in food and nutrition labeling initiatives. Subcommittees established to begin reviews of current scientific evidence  DGAC held its second public meeting on January 1314, 2014  DGAC held its third public meeting on March 14, 2014  The National Institutes of Health (NIH) and its agencies produce several consumer initiatives to promote principles of the DGA.  The Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion (ODPHP/HHS) implements Healthy People 2020, whose objectives on nutrition and weight status provide a mechanism to measure the nation’s progress toward implementing DGA recommendations.  Other HHS agencies, including the Administration on Community Living (ACL), the Health Resources and Service Administration (HRSA), the Indian Health Service (IHS), and the Office on Women’s Health (OWH), also have nutrition and health education programs based on the DGA. Programs Within USDA  The Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) nutrition assistance programs use the DGA to adjust food benefits for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) and the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC). Spring/Summer 2014  DGAC reviews current scientific evidence  DGAC held its fourth public meeting on July 17-18, 2014 Fall 2014/Winter 2015  DGAC held its fifth public meeting on September 1617, 2014  DGAC held its sixth public meeting on November 7, 2014  DGAC held its seventh public meeting on December 15, 2014  DGAC to issue report to the Secretaries of HHS and USDA  DGAC report to be published and made available to public for comment Winter/Spring/Summer 2015  HHS and USDA to consider DGAC’s scientific recommendations, as well as public and agency comments implements the DGA through nutrition labeling and food safety education programs.   The Center for Nutrition Policy and Promotion (CNPP) Departments to prepare for the Dietary Guidelines for Americans policy document Fall 2015  The Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) uses the DGA as the nutrition basis for the USDA Food Plans used for SNAP allotments, food allowances for the military, and setting child support and foster care guidelines.  HHS and USDA to jointly publish and release the 8th edition of the Dietary Guidelines for Americans  Other USDA agencies, including the Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS), the Agricultural Research Service (ARS), Economic Research Service (ERS), and the National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA), use the DGA to guide decisions on food and/or food purchasing. Agata Dabrowska, Analyst in Health Policy https://crsreports.congress.gov IF10118 The Dietary Guidelines for Americans Disclaimer This document was prepared by the Congressional Research Service (CRS). CRS serves as nonpartisan shared staff to congressional committees and Members of Congress. It operates solely at the behest of and under the direction of Congress. Information in a CRS Report should not be relied upon for purposes other than public understanding of information that has been provided by CRS to Members of Congress in connection with CRS’s institutional role. CRS Reports, as a work of the United States Government, are not subject to copyright protection in the United States. Any CRS Report may be reproduced and distributed in its entirety without permission from CRS. 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