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  • This table describes the chronology of the development of the Dietary Guidelines by the Departments of Agriculture and Health and Human Services and outlines how the process has evolved since the Dietary Goals for the United States was published by the U.S. Senate Select Committee in 1977.

Table: History of Dietary Guidance Development in the United States and the Dietary Guidelines for Americans – A Chronology

1977

Dietary Goals for the United States (the “McGovern Report”) was issued by the U.S. Senate Select Committee on Nutrition and Human Needs. The Dietary Goals reflected a shift in focus from obtaining adequate nutrients to avoiding excessive intake of food components linked to chronic disease. Dietary Goals for the United States (the “McGovern Report”) was issued by the U.S. Senate Select Committee on Nutrition and Human Needs. The Dietary Goals reflected a shift in focus from obtaining adequate nutrients to avoiding excessive intake of food components linked to chronic disease. 

1979

The American Society for Clinical Nutrition formed a panel to study the relationship between dietary practices and health outcomes. The findings, presented in 1979, were reflected in Healthy People: The Surgeon General's Report on Health Promotion and Disease Prevention.

1980

Seven principles for a healthful diet were issued jointly by the then U.S. Department of Health, Education, and Welfare (now the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS)) and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) in response to the public's desire for authoritative, consistent guidelines on diet and health. These principles became the first edition of Nutrition and Your Health: Dietary Guidelines for Americans. The 1980 Dietary Guidelines was based on the most up-to-date information available at the time. 

1980

A U.S. Senate Committee on Appropriations report directed that an external advisory committee be established to review scientific evidence and recommend revisions to the 1980 Nutrition and Your Health: Dietary Guidelines for Americans

1983-1985

An external Federal advisory committee of nine nutrition scientists was convened to review the scientific literature, review comments received from the public about the first Dietary Guidelines, and make recommendations in a report to the Secretaries of USDA and HHS that the Committee deemed appropriate. 

1985

USDA and HHS jointly issued the second edition of Nutrition and Your Health: Dietary Guidelines for Americans. This edition was nearly identical to the first, retaining the seven guidelines from the 1980 edition. Some changes were made for clarity, while others reflected advances in scientific knowledge of the associations between diet and chronic diseases. 

1987

Language in the Conference Report of the House Committee on Appropriations indicated that USDA, in conjunction with HHS, “shall reestablish a Dietary Guidelines Advisory Group on a periodic basis. This Advisory Group will review the scientific data relevant to nutritional guidance and make recommendations on appropriate changes to the Secretaries of the Departments of Agriculture and Health and Human Services.”

1989-1990

USDA and HHS established a second Federal advisory committee of nine members, which considered whether revisions to the 1985 Dietary Guidelines were needed and made recommendations for revision in a report to the Secretaries. The 1988 Surgeon General's Report on Nutrition and Health and the 1989 National Research Council’s report Diet and Health: Implications for Reducing Chronic Disease Risk were key resources used by the Committee. For the first time, the Advisory Committee included a summary of the more than 80 public comments received in its report. 

1990

USDA and HHS jointly released the third edition of Nutrition and Your Health: Dietary Guidelines for Americans. The basic tenets of the 1985 Dietary Guidelines were reaffirmed, with additional refinements made to reflect increased understanding of the science of nutrition and how best to communicate the science to consumers. The language of the new Dietary Guidelines was positive, oriented toward the total diet, and provided a new section “Advice for today” to call out specific information regarding food selection and health.

1990

The 1990 National Nutrition Monitoring and Related Research Act (Section 301 of Public Law 101-445, 7 USC 5341, Title III) directed the Secretaries of the USDA and HHS to jointly issue a report entitled Dietary Guidelines for Americans at least every 5 years. This legislation also required USDA and HHS to review all Federal publications containing dietary advice for the general public. 

1992

USDA released the Food Guide Pyramid in collaboration with HHS. The Food Guide Pyramid aimed to help consumers with choosing what and how much to eat based on the recommendations in the Dietary Guidelines. The pyramid showed a range of servings for the recommended food groups to reflect three different calorie levels. 

1994

An 11-member Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee was appointed by the Secretaries of HHS and USDA to review the third edition of the Dietary Guidelines and determine whether changes were needed. If so, the Committee was to recommend suggestions and the rationale for any revisions. More than 284 public comments were received, reviewed, and summarized by the Advisory Committee. 

1995

The report of the Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee to the Secretaries of HHS and USDA was published.

1995

Using the 1995 report of the Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee as the scientific foundation, HHS and USDA jointly developed and released the fourth edition of Nutrition and Your Health: Dietary Guidelines for Americans. This edition continued to support the concepts from earlier editions. New information included the Food Guide Pyramid, Nutrition Facts label, boxes highlighting good food sources of key nutrients, and a chart illustrating three weight ranges in relation to height.

1998

An 11-member Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee was appointed by the Secretaries of USDA and HHS to review the fourth edition of the Dietary Guidelines to determine whether changes were needed and, if so, to recommend suggestions for revision. More than 165 public comments were received, reviewed and summarized by the Committee; the public was also invited to provide oral testimony to the Committee at one of its meetings. 

2000

The Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee submitted its report to the Secretaries of USDA and HHS.  

2000

The President of the United States spoke of the Dietary Guidelines in his radio address after USDA and HHS jointly issued the fifth edition of Nutrition and Your Health: Dietary Guidelines for Americans earlier in the day. This edition included 10 Guidelines (up from seven in previous editions)—created by breaking out physical activity from the weight guideline, splitting the grains and fruits/vegetables recommendations for greater emphasis, and adding a new guideline on safe food handling.

2003

A 13-member Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee was appointed by the Secretaries of HHS and USDA to review the fifth edition of the Dietary Guidelines to determine whether changes were needed and, if so, to recommend suggestions for revision. 

2003-2004

In keeping with the emphasis on data quality, the Committee used a more systematic approach to review the scientific literature and develop its recommendations. The Committee posed approximately 40 specific diet and health research questions that were answered using an extensive search and review of the scientific literature. Issues relating diet and physical activity to health promotion and chronic disease prevention were included in the Committee’s evidence review. Other major sources of evidence used were the Dietary Reference Intake (DRI) reports released by expert committees convened by the Institute of Medicine (IOM) (now known as the Health and Medicine Division of the National Academy of Sciences), as well as Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) and World Health Organization (WHO) reports. In addition, USDA completed numerous food pattern modeling analyses and the Committee analyzed various national data sets. A total of 435 public comments were received, reviewed, and summarized by the Advisory Committee.

2004

The Committee submitted its scientific report to the Secretaries of HHS and USDA. This 364-page report contained a detailed analysis of the science and was accompanied by many pages of evidence-based tables that were made available electronically. After dropping some questions because of incomplete or inconclusive data, the Committee wrote conclusions and comprehensive rationales for 34 of the 40 original questions.

2005

Using the Committee’s report as a scientific basis, HHS and USDA jointly wrote and issued the sixth edition of Dietary Guidelines for Americans in January 2005. This 80-page document was the first time the Dietary Guidelines was intended primarily for use by policy makers, healthcare professionals, nutritionists, and nutrition educators. The content of this document included nine major messages that resulted in 41 Key Recommendations. Of these, 23 were for the U.S. population overall and 18 for specific population groups. The document highlighted the USDA Food Guide and the DASH Eating Plan as two examples of eating patterns that exemplify the recommendations. A companion, 10-page consumer brochure called “Finding Your Way to a Healthier You” was released concurrently with the Dietary Guidelines to provide advice to consumers about food choices that promote health and decrease the risk of chronic disease. Shortly thereafter, USDA released the MyPyramid Food Guidance System, an update of the Food Guide Pyramid, which included more detailed advice for consumers to help them follow the Dietary Guidelines. This also marked the introduction into the digital age via MyPyramid.gov.

2008

A 13-member Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee was appointed by the Secretaries of USDA and HHS to review the sixth edition of Dietary Guidelines for Americans to determine whether changes were needed and, if so, to recommend suggestions for revision.

2008-2009

USDA’s Center for Nutrition Policy and Promotion (CNPP) established the Nutrition Evidence Systematic Review (NESR) (formerly the Nutrition Evidence Library) to conduct systematic reviews to help inform Federal nutrition policy and programs. The NESR supported the Advisory Committee in answering approximately 130 of the total 180 diet and health-related questions the Committee posed. This was the most rigorous and comprehensive approach used to date for reviewing the science to develop nutrition-related recommendations for the public. Other sources of evidence for answering scientific questions included food pattern modeling analyses of USDA’s Food Patterns, review of reports from various data analyses, as well as other available authoritative reports (e.g., 2005 Advisory Committee Report, DRI reports, and other IOM reports). A web-based public comments database was developed and provided an efficient way for the public to provide comments and thereby participate in the Committee’s evidence review process. The database also allowed the public to read other comments that were submitted. This database eventually included more than 800 public comments related to the Advisory Committee process. These comments were received and summarized by the Advisory Committee. The use of webcast technology also allowed the public to easily follow the Advisory Committee’s public meetings from any computer. 

2010

The Committee submitted its scientific report to the Secretaries of USDA and HHS. This 445-page report contained a detailed analysis of the science and was accompanied by an additional 230 pages of food pattern modeling appendices made available to the public electronically on the CNPP Dietary Guidelines webpage, and additional systematic review documentation at NEL.gov (Now NESR).

2011

Using the Committee’s report as the scientific basis, HHS and USDA jointly wrote and published the seventh edition of Dietary Guidelines for Americans released publically in January 2011. The 95-page document encompassed the overarching concepts of maintaining calorie balance over time to achieve and sustain a healthy weight, and consuming nutrient-dense foods and beverages. The document included 23 key recommendations for the general population and six additional key recommendations for specific populations. To assist individuals to build a healthy diet based on the Dietary Guidelines, the USDA Food Patterns were updated and new vegetarian adaptations were included. The DASH Eating Plan also was included as an example of a healthy dietary pattern. In June, USDA released MyPlate, a new visual icon, and the ChooseMyPlate.gov website that provides tools to help consumers of all ages, educators, and health professionals learn about and follow the Dietary Guidelines.

2013

A 15-member Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee was appointed by the Secretaries of USDA and HHS to review the seventh edition of Dietary Guidelines for Americans and recommend suggestions for revision. One member resigned due to professional obligations within the first three months after appointment; 14 members served the remainder of the Committee’s work. Approaches to examining the evidence included NESR’s systematic reviews, food pattern modeling analyses of USDA’s Food Patterns, review of reports from various data analyses, as well as other available authoritative reports (e.g., reports from the USDA NESR and HHS National, Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI), WHO-commissioned systematic reviews, DRI reports and other HMD reports). Public comments were accepted throughout the Committee’s deliberations, mainly through an online database. More than 900 public comments were submitted to the Advisory Committee during the 19 month period that was open for public comment while the Committee conducted its work. These comments were received and summarized by the Advisory Committee. 

2014 Congress passed the Agricultural Act of 2014, also known as the Farm Bill, mandating that the Dietary Guidelines expand to include dietary guidance for infants and toddlers (from birth to age 24 months), as well as women who are pregnant, beginning with the 2020-2025 edition.
2015

The Committee submitted its scientific report to the Secretaries of USDA and HHS in February 2015. This 580-page report contained a detailed analysis of the science, including 600 pages of online appendices, made available electronically through the Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion’s Dietary Guidelines website and additional systematic review documentation at NEL.gov (Now on NESR). More than 29,000 comments were received by the Departments on the Committee’s technical report, and were considered in the development of the 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans

2016

Using the Committee’s report as a scientific basis for revisions, HHS and USDA jointly wrote and released the eighth edition of the Dietary Guidelines for Americans in January 2016. The 144-page document emphasizes the importance of eating patterns as a whole — the combination of foods and drinks that people consume over time. This edition highlights evidence about the synergistic and potentially cumulative impact of eating patterns on a person’s health and risk of chronic disease. Another key component of the 2015–2020 Dietary Guidelines is its comparison of how Americans are eating now compared to recommendations, providing data by age groups and sex, and clear guidance on shifts in food choices encouraged to achieve healthy eating patterns. Additionally, because many factors influence individual food choices, this edition of the Dietary Guidelines acknowledges that everyone has a role in supporting healthy eating patterns. The 2015–2020 Dietary Guidelines contains five overarching Guidelines and 13 Key Recommendations that describe healthy eating patterns, as well as quantitative recommendations about several dietary components that people should limit. On the day of the release of the Dietary Guidelines, USDA launched the MyPlate, MyWins campaign to bring together the key elements of healthy eating patterns, translating the Dietary Guidelines into key consumer messages that are used with the MyPlate icon in educational materials and tools for the public.

2016-2017

As mandated by Congress, USDA commissioned the Health and Medicine Division of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine (formerly the Institute of Medicine) to conduct a study to review the process to update the Dietary Guidelines for Americans. The Committee produced two reports, the first on the process used to establish the Advisory Committee and a second report on the remaining aspects of the Dietary Guidelines development process. USDA and HHS are considering findings from these reports, as well as stakeholder input gathered after the release of the 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans, as it develops the 2020-2025 edition.