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Purpose of the Dietary Guidelines

What we eat and drink is important. The purpose of the Dietary Guidelines for Americans is to provide advice on what to eat and drink to build a healthy diet that can promote health, help prevent diet-related chronic disease, and meet nutrient needs.

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Who's Involved in Updating the Dietary Guidelines

USDA and HHS are responsible for updating and releasing the Dietary Guidelines. This includes oversight of the Advisory Committee, providing opportunities for public input, and developing and coordinating clearance of the Dietary Guidelines throughout each Department. 

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History of the Dietary Guidelines

The Federal government has provided advice on what to eat and drink for more than 100 years. Since 1990, the Secretaries of Agriculture and Health and Human Services are required by law to publish the Dietary Guidelines for Americans every five years. The nature of dietary guidance, providing advice on foods and nutrients to eat more or less of, has remained relatively consistent, however the specific messages have changed as the process used to create the Dietary Guidelines has evolved as nutrition science progressed and the methods used to review the science have advanced. The Dietary Guidelines now serves as the cornerstone of Federal food and nutrition guidance.

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Previous Editions of the Dietary Guidelines for Americans

The Dietary Guidelines for Americans have been released by the Departments for Agriculture and Health and Human Services every five years since 1980. The 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines is the 8th and current edition. There are now seven previous editions.

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Related Projects

There are projects that exist outside of the Dietary Guidelines process, but have implications for the Dietary Guidelines. Examples include the Dietary Reference Intakes developed by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine, a study of the process used to establish the Dietary Guidelines by the National Academies, the Healthy Eating Index, and the Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans

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The 2020-2025 Dietary Guidelines for Americans development process is under way. View our progress below.

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Topic and Question Identification

Learn more about the first call for public comments

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In this new step, the Departments asked for public comments on topics and scientific questions to be examined by the Committee to support the development of the upcoming 2020-2025 edition of the Dietary Guidelines. The topics and scientific questions shaped the areas of scientific expertise needed on the Committee.

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Advisory Committee Selection

Learn more about the Advisory Committee

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The Committee will conduct an independent, science-based review of specific topics and supporting scientific questions related to nutrition and health – from birth into older adulthood. USDA and HHS will consider the Committee’s scientific review as the Departments develop the 2020-2025 Dietary Guidelines for Americans.

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Advisory Committee’s Scientific Review

Learn more about the scientific review

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The Committee is currently reviewing the scientific evidence. The public is invited to attend the Committee’s meetings, and is welcome to submit comments to the Committee throughout its work. The Committee’s work will end with the release of its scientific report to the Secretaries of USDA and HHS in 2020.

Learn More Submit Comments Review of the Science

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USDA/HHS Dietary Guidelines Development 

The Dietary Guidelines is designed to help all Americans eat a healthier diet 

USDA and HHS update the Dietary Guidelines every five years. As they develop the Guidelines, USDA and HHS will consider the Committee’s scientific report – along with input from Federal agencies and the public. This work will end with the release of the 2020-2025 Dietary Guidelines for Americans.

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