Skip to main content

Work Under Way

2020 Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee Data Analysis

Data analysis is one of three scientific approaches that the 2020 Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee used in its review of the scientific evidence. Data analysis provides insights into eating habits of the U.S. population, as well as diet-related chronic disease rates in the United States. 

The Scientific Report of the 2020 Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee provides more detail about the data analysis methodology, summarizes the findings from the Committee’s work, and provides its advice and recommendations to USDA and HHS based on the entirety of its work. 

This page provides information about the data analysis results in the Scientific Report and provides the online-only data analysis supplements. It also includes the data analysis question protocols the Committee developed prior to its review of the analyses, as well as an overview of the Federal data sources used by the Advisory Committee.    

Data Analysis Results

The Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee used data analysis to address the scientific questions listed in the table below. The Committee’s findings are summarized in the Scientific Report of the 2020 Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee and can be found in the Scientific Report chapters as outlined below. 

Question Scientific Report Chapter
What are the current patterns of food and beverage intake? Part D: Chapter 1
What are the current intakes of food groups? Part D: Chapter 1
Which nutrients present a substantial public health concern because of underconsumption or overconsumption? Part D: Chapter 1
What is the current prevalence of nutrition-related chronic health conditions? Part D: Chapter 1
How does dietary intake, particularly dietary patterns, track across life stages from the introduction of foods, into childhood, and through older adulthood?  Part D: Chapter 1
What is the relationship between beverage consumption and achieving nutrient and food group recommendations?  Part D: Chapter 10
What is the relationship between alcohol consumption and achieving nutrient and food group recommendations?  Part D: Chapter 11
What is the relationship between added sugars consumption and achieving nutrient and food group recommendations? Part D: Chapter 12
What is the relationship between the frequency of eating and achieving nutrient and food group recommendations? Part D: Chapter 13

Data Analysis Supplements

The following online-only data analysis supplements were prepared by the data analysis team for the 2020 Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee to support its review of the scientific evidence. 

Data Analysis Protocols

The Advisory Committee, with support from the data analysis team, developed a protocol for how each question would be answered using data analysis. The protocol, or plan, included the analytic framework that described the overall scope and the approach used to answer the question, and an analytic plan that detailed the data and subsequent analysis to be considered. These protocols can be found through the link below. 

Data Analysis Protocols

The analytic results can be found in the Scientific Report of the 2020 Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee and through the online-only data analysis supplements linked above.  

Federal Data Sources

The Advisory Committee examined a collection of analyses to inform the Scientific Report of the 2020 Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee. The data analysis team helped prepare these analyses for the Committee to review and interpret. The team is comprised of Federal scientists within USDA and HHS with advanced degrees in nutrition, statistics, and epidemiology and expertise in the Federal data sources below: 

Federal Data Source: Use: Supported by:

National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey 

NHANES

Allows for assessment of demographic, socioeconomic, dietary and health status of Americans using physical exams (e.g. height, weight, blood pressure), laboratory data (e.g. biochemical markers of public health relevance) and questionnaires (e.g. national dietary intake data).

HHS, CDC

and 

USDA, ARS

What We Eat in America, National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey 

WWEIA, NHANES

Dietary intake portion of NHANES, which allows for the assessment of food, beverage, and nutrient intakes of Americans.

HHS, CDC

and 

USDA, ARS

USDA Food and Nutrient Database for Dietary Studies

FNDDS

Provides nutrient and energy values for foods and beverages used to analyze dietary data reported in WWEIA, NHANES.  USDA, ARS

USDA Food Pattern Equivalents Database 

FPED

Converts foods and beverages reported in WWEIA, NHANES to 37 USDA Food Patterns components, allowing for examination of food group intakes.  USDA, ARS

USDA National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference, Release 28

SR-28

Serves as the foundation for most public and private sector food composition databases in the United States (e.g. FNDDS and FPED)

USDA, ARS

National Health Interview Survey

NHIS 

Used to assess public health trends and prevalence of health conditions among the U.S. population. HHS, CDC

Surveillance, Epidemiology and End Results

SEER

Used to define rates of diet-related cancers among the U.S. population. HHS, NIH

Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System

BRFSS

Used to assess alcohol intake among different population groups. HHS, CDC

National Survey on Drug Use and Health

NSDUH 

Used to assess alcohol related risk behaviors. HHS, SAMHSA

National Vital Statistics System 

NVSS

Provides the most complete data on births and deaths in the United States. HHS, CDC

Pregnancy Risk Assessment Monitoring System

PRAMS

State-specific, population-based surveillance data on maternal attitudes and experiences before, during, and shortly after pregnancy.   HHS, CDC

U.S. National Immunization Surveys

NIS

Provides current, population-based, state and local area estimates of vaccination coverage among children and teens. HHS, CDC

Note: The Committee also used the Dietary Reference Intakes established by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine for the United States and Canada.