USDA's 2020 Dietary Guidelines

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The U.S. Department of Agriculture released an online-only first print of the Scientific Report of the 2020 Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee.

The 2020 Scientific Report has two unique features that are new from previous years. First, the Committee took a “lifespan approach” in reviewing evidence. The Committee reviewed the period from birth to age 24 months and also conducted a review of diet and health issues in pregnancy and lactation. Second, the Committee focuses on dietary patterns based on growing evidence that components of a dietary pattern may have interactive, synergistic and potentially cumulative relationships that can predict overall health status and disease risk more fully than can individual foods or nutrients. The Scientific Report focuses on healthy dietary patterns in an effort to address what it describes as “the major public health challenges in the U.S. population of overweight and obesity and their related co-morbidities that are associated with dietary patterns in which typical food choices result in excess energy intake and inadequate nutritional quality.”

The Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee is a collaboration between the Department of Agriculture and the Department of Health and Human Services. The Dietary Guidelines were first published in 1980 and are updated every five years. They serve as a resource to health care providers and influence the development of federal nutrition and health programs. 

The USDA’s news release stated that the Scientific Report will “inform USDA and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) as they co-develop the 2020-2025 Dietary Guidelines for Americans, which will provide recommendations on what to eat and drink to promote health and prevent chronic disease.” The 2020 to 2025 Dietary Guidelines are expected to be published in December 2020.

Members of the public may comment on the first print of the Scientific Report through August 13, 2020 through the federal regulations website, which currently has approximately 14,500 comments. The advisory committee is holding a public meeting on August 11, 2020, during which oral comments will be permitted.

DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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