Projects Related to the Dietary Guidelines
Updating the Dietary Guidelines for Americans (Dietary Guidelines) is a scientifically rigorous, multi-year process. Below are examples of Federal and non-Federal projects relevant to the Dietary Guidelines.
White House Conference on Hunger, Nutrition, and Health
For the first time in over 50 years, the White House hosted the White House Conference on Hunger, Nutrition, and Health on September 28, 2022. The Biden-Harris Administration also released a National Strategy outlining actions the Federal government will take to achieve the bold goal of ending hunger and increasing healthy eating and physical activity by 2030.
The Biden-Harris Administration also announced more than $8 billion in new commitments as part of the Conference's call to action.
Dietary Reference Intakes
Established by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine (National Academies), the Dietary Reference Intakes (DRIs) provide reference values for vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients that: 1) indicate daily intake amounts that meet the needs of most healthy people, 2) set intake levels not to exceed to avoid harm, and 3) reduce the risk of chronic disease.
These reference values provide an important source of evidence for the Dietary Guidelines by helping to understand if the population is meeting or exceeding nutrient needs through the foods and beverages consumed.
The Dietary Guidelines uses the DRIs to make food-based recommendations that help Americans to meet their nutrient needs. The Dietary Guidelines includes in Appendix 1 nutritional goals for different age-sex groups, which are based on the DRI nutrient standards. These nutritional goals are also included in the USDA Dietary Patterns to ensure that the patterns are designed to meet nutrient needs of individuals across the lifespan.
The National Academies establishes DRIs for the United States and Canada. The U.S. and Canadian governments work together through the Joint U.S.-Canada DRI Working Group to determine which DRIs need to be updated and to sponsor the DRI development process. The DRI Working Group prioritized updating the energy and macronutrient DRIs. The review of the energy DRI is now complete. The macronutrient DRIs will be updated over the next few years with evidence reviews beginning soon on protein and carbohydrates.
Healthy Eating Index
The Healthy Eating Index (HEI) is a tool designed to evaluate how well a set of foods and beverages, such as the foods commonly consumed by Americans, aligns with dietary patterns recommendations from the Dietary Guidelines for Americans. The HEI-2020 aligns with the key recommendations from the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, 2020-2025 (for those ages 2 years and older). Additionally, a newly developed tool, the HEI-Toddlers-2020 assesses how well diets of toddlers (ages 12 through 23 months) align with the new recommendations for this life stage. The publication of the HEI-2020 and HEI-Toddlers-2020 can be found in the May 2023 issue of the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.
MyPlate Consumer Education Resources
MyPlate helps consumers put the Dietary Guidelines for Americans into action with inspiration and simple ideas for making healthy choices across the food groups. Visit MyPlate.gov for a suite of nutrition education resources:
- Life Stages: Find key recommendations from the Dietary Guidelines for Americans and supporting consumer resources.
- MyPlate Tools: Consumers can use these interactive tools to test their knowledge, get a food plan, set healthy eating goals, and more! Shop Simple with MyPlate is one example that empowers consumers with new ways to prepare budget-friendly foods and local SNAP savings. Find Spanish versions of many consumer resources at MiPlato en español.
- Toolkits for Professionals: Use these toolkits as you communicate MyPlate’s food and nutrition messages to your audiences. Health professionals can search by topic and access over 80 printable tip sheets through the Print Materials library.
Alcoholic Beverages and Health
Alcoholic beverages and health remain a high priority topic. HHS and USDA are addressing this topic through efforts separate from the 2025 Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee.
The Interagency Coordinating Committee on the Prevention of Underage Drinking (ICCPUD), led by the HHS Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), will support a technical subcommittee with expertise on adult alcohol consumption to review evidence on adult alcohol intake and health. Additionally, in the 2023 Appropriations Act, Congress mandated USDA to enter into a contract with the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine (NASEM) to conduct a series of systematic reviews on alcoholic beverages and health. More information about the NASEM study can be found on its project page.
The ICCPUD technical subcommittee will consider the findings from the NASEM study as part of their evidence review and make recommendations on adult alcohol consumption. The ICCPUD subcommittee report will be published and available to the public in 2025. This timeline will allow for the topic of alcoholic beverages and health to be included in the next edition of the Dietary Guidelines.
Climate Change and Nutrition
Sustainability and the complex relationship between nutrition and climate change is an important, cross-cutting, and high priority topic. HHS and USDA have activities underway on this topic to inform work across the Departments.
For example, a newly launched NIH initiative, “Agriculture and Diet: Value Added for Nutrition, Translation, and Adaptation in a Global Ecology: ADVANTAGE,” is led by the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD). This work is focused on research and will examine evidence to better understand the intersection of food systems, diet, nutrition, and health in a changing environment. NICHD has supported similar initiatives on other topics.
Separately, USDA and HHS will convene a Federal Workgroup tasked with assessing the merits of various pathways to consider integrating sustainability into future editions of the Dietary Guidelines. The Workgroup will host public meetings intermittently to engage stakeholders. The Workgroup’s recommendations for approaches will be released publicly.
Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans
HHS develops the Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans which provides evidence-based advice on how physical activity can help promote health and reduce the risk of chronic disease. The second edition of the Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans includes recommendations for Americans ages 3 years and over — including people at increased risk of chronic disease.
It is an essential resource for health professionals and policy makers and is used to inform federal physical activity programs and initiatives. The Move Your Way® campaign is the promotional campaign for the second edition of the Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans. It offers tools and resources for consumers and professionals to learn about the Physical Activity Guidelines and share its key messages.
Recognizing the importance of physical activity to promote health and help prevent chronic disease, the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, 2020-2025 recommends that Americans of all ages meet the Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans.
In response to recommendations from the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine (NASEM), a report was developed with potential options to integrate systems science approaches into the Dietary Guidelines development processes, including implementation.
The report, Applicability of Systems Science Approaches to the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, leverages expertise from a diverse panel of systems science, nutrition, and health experts convened to discuss the topic. The report provides six action strategies for integrating systems science and highlights multiple opportunities across the nutrition landscape for how systems science could improve the implementation and impact of the Dietary Guidelines in achieving its public health goal of disease prevention and health promotion.
View the report and potential action strategies, including some already under way:
National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine Study: Process to Update the Dietary Guidelines
As directed by Congress, USDA commissioned the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine to conduct independent studies on the process used to develop the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, which culminated in several reports for consideration by HHS and USDA as they continue to strengthen and evolve the process.