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Work Under Way

Topics and Questions Reviewed by the Committee

three methods

In June 2020, the 2020 Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee completed its review of the scientific questions identified by USDA and HHS. The Advisory Committee’s work culminated with the release of the Scientific Report of the 2020 Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee. The Scientific Report includes the Committee’s methodology, summarizes the findings from its work, including all conclusion statements, and provides its advice and recommendations to USDA and HHS based on the entirety of its work. 

The Advisory Committee used three scientific approaches to examine the evidence: data analysis, food pattern modeling, and systematic reviews. The questions are organized by topic-driven subcommittees below. For questions answered using systematic reviews, links to the full systematic reviews on NESR.USDA.gov are provided. For questions answered using data analysis or food pattern modeling, more information on the Committee’s findings are linked below. 

The final protocol – or plan – for each question, which was previously provided through this page, can now be found within the systematic reviews on NESR.USDA.gov or through the data analysis and food pattern modeling webpages on DietaryGuidelines.gov. 

Dietary Patterns Subcommittee

Visit the Dietary Patterns Subcommittee page on NESR.USDA.gov to learn more about the systematic reviews led by this Subcommittee. 

View Systematic Reviews

  • What is the relationship between dietary patterns consumed and growth, size, body composition, and risk of overweight and obesity?
  • What is the relationship between dietary patterns consumed and risk of cardiovascular disease?
  • What is the relationship between dietary patterns consumed and risk of type 2 diabetes?
  • What is the relationship between dietary patterns consumed and risk of certain types of cancer?
  • What is the relationship between dietary patterns consumed and bone health?
  • What is the relationship between dietary patterns consumed and neurocognitive health?
  • What is the relationship between dietary patterns consumed and sarcopenia?
  • What is the relationship between dietary patterns consumed and all-cause mortality?

Pregnancy and Lactation Subcommittee

Visit the Pregnancy and Lactation Subcommittee page on NESR.USDA.gov to learn more about the systematic reviews led by this Subcommittee.

View Systematic Reviews 

Dietary Patterns

  • What is the relationship between dietary patterns consumed during pregnancy and risk of gestational diabetes mellitus?
  • What is the relationship between dietary patterns consumed during pregnancy and risk of hypertensive disorders during pregnancy?
  • What is the relationship between dietary patterns consumed during pregnancy and gestational age at birth?
  • What is the relationship between dietary patterns consumed during pregnancy and birth weight standardized for gestational age and sex?
  • What is the relationship between dietary patterns consumed during pregnancy and gestational weight gain?
  • What is the relationship between dietary patterns consumed during lactation and post-partum weight loss?
  • What is the relationship between dietary patterns consumed during lactation and human milk composition and quantity?
  • What is the relationship between dietary patterns consumed during lactation and developmental milestones, including neurocognitive development, in the child?

Specific Nutrients from Supplements and/or Fortified Foods

  • What is the relationship between folic acid from supplements and/or fortified foods consumed before and during pregnancy and lactation and health outcomes?
  • What is the relationship between omega-3 fatty acids from supplements consumed before and during pregnancy and lactation and developmental milestones, including neurocognitive development, in the child?

Maternal Diet During Pregnancy and Lactation and Risk of Food Allergy/Atopic Disease

  • What is the relationship between maternal diet during pregnancy and lactation and risk of child food allergies and atopic allergic diseases?

Note: As with Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committees in the past, the Committee prioritized questions to complete in the time available to conduct its review, and some questions were not completed. More information is discussed in the Committee's Scientific Report. Learn more.  

Birth to 24 Months Subcommittee

Visit the Birth to 24 Months Subcommittee page on NESR.USDA.gov to learn more about the systematic reviews led by this Subcommittee.

View Systematic Reviews

Recommended Duration, Frequency, and Volume of Exclusive
Human Milk and/or Infant Formula Feeding

  • What is the relationship between the duration, frequency, and volume of exclusive human milk and/or infant formula consumption and overweight and obesity?
  • What is the relationship between the duration, frequency, and volume of exclusive human milk and/or infant formula consumption and nutrient status?
  • What is the relationship between the duration, frequency, and volume of exclusive human milk and/or infant formula consumption and long-term health outcomes?
  • What is the relationship between the duration, frequency, and volume of exclusive human milk and/or infant formula consumption and food allergies and atopic allergic diseases?

Specific Nutrients from Supplements and/or Fortified Foods

  • What is the relationship between iron from supplements consumed during infancy and toddlerhood and growth, size, and body composition?
  • What is the relationship between vitamin D from supplements consumed during infancy and toddlerhood and bone health?

Complementary Foods and Beverages

  • What is the relationship between complementary feeding and growth, size, and body composition?
  • What is the relationship between complementary feeding and developmental milestones, including neurocognitive development?
  • What is the relationship between complementary feeding and nutrient status?
  • What is the relationship between complementary feeding and bone health?
  • What is the relationship between complementary feeding and food allergies and atopic allergic diseases?

Note: As with Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committees in the past, the Committee prioritized questions to complete in the time available to conduct its review, and some questions were not completed. More information is discussed in the Committee’s Scientific Report. Learn more.

Beverages and Added Sugars Subcommittee

Visit the Beverages and Added Sugars Subcommittee page on NESR.USDA.gov to learn more about the systematic reviews led by this Subcommittee.

View Systematic Reviews

Beverages

  • What is the relationship between beverage consumption and growth, size, body composition, and risk of overweight and obesity?
  • What is the relationship between beverage consumption during pregnancy and birth weight standardized for gestational age and sex?

Alcoholic Beverages

  • What is the relationship between alcohol consumption and all-cause mortality?

Added Sugars

  • What is the relationship between added sugars consumption and risk of cardiovascular disease?

Note: As with Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committees in the past, the Committee prioritized questions to complete in the time available to conduct its review, and some questions were not completed. More information is discussed in the Committee’s Scientific Report. Learn more.

Dietary Fats and Seafood Subcommittee

Visit the Dietary Fats and Seafood Subcommittee page on NESR.USDA.gov to learn more about the systematic reviews led by this Subcommittee. 

View Systematic Reviews

Dietary Fats

  • What is the relationship between types of dietary fat consumed and risk of cardiovascular disease?

Seafood

  • What is the relationship between seafood consumption during pregnancy and lactation and neurocognitive development in the child?
  • What is the relationship between seafood consumption during childhood and adolescence (up to 18 years of age) and neurocognitive development?
  • What is the relationship between seafood consumption during childhood and adolescence (up to 18 years of age) and risk of cardiovascular disease?

Note: As with Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committees in the past, the Committee prioritized questions to complete in the time available to conduct its review, and some questions were not completed. More information is discussed in the Committee’s Scientific Report. Learn more.

Frequency of Eating Subcommittee

Visit the Frequency of Eating page on NESR.USDA.gov to learn more about the systematic reviews led by this Subcommittee.  

View Systematic Reviews

  • What is the relationship between the frequency of eating and growth, size, body composition, and risk of overweight and obesity?
  • What is the relationship between the frequency of eating and risk of cardiovascular disease?
  • What is the relationship between the frequency of eating and risk of type 2 diabetes?
  • What is the relationship between the frequency of eating during lactation and post-partum weight loss?
  • What is the relationship between the frequency of eating during pregnancy and gestational weight gain?
  • What is the relationship between the frequency of eating and all-cause mortality?

Data Analysis and Food Pattern Modeling Cross-Cutting Working Group

View the Scientific Report of the 2020 Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee Report to learn more about the data analysis and food pattern modeling work conducted by the Committee.  

Data Analysis

Data Analysis 

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

View the Scientific Report of the 2020 Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee to learn more about the food pattern modeling work conducted by the Committee.

Food Pattern Modeling

Food Pattern Modeling

  • [For 2 years and older] Are changes to the USDA Food Patterns needed based on the relationships identified in the systematic reviews? If so, how well do USDA Food Pattern variations meet nutrient recommendations for each stage of life? If nutrient needs are not met, is there evidence to support supplementation and/or consumption of fortified foods to meet nutrient adequacy?
  • [For those under 2 years of age] Can USDA Food Patterns be established based on the relationships identified in the systematic reviews? If so, how well do USDA Food Pattern variations meet nutrient recommendations for infants and toddlers? If nutrient needs are not met, is there evidence to support supplementation and/or consumption of fortified foods to meet nutrient adequacy?
  • How much added sugars can be accommodated in a healthy diet while still meeting food group and nutrient needs?