Dietary Guidelines

The 2020-2025 Dietary Guidelines for Americans development process is under way. Updating the Dietary Guidelines for Americans is a multi-step, multi-year process.


The process to update the Dietary Guidelines is under way.

In February 2019, the U.S. Departments of Agriculture and Health and Human Services announced the members of the 2020 Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee (see Press Release).

The Committee will hold its first public meeting in the coming weeks.


Learn About the Members of the 2020 Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee 

USDA and HHS announced the appointment of 20 nationally recognized experts to serve on the 2020 Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee (see Press Release). The independent Advisory Committee will review scientific evidence on topics and questions identified by the Departments and will provide a report on their findings to the Secretaries. Their review, along with public and agency comments, will help inform USDA and HHS’ development of the 2020-2025 Dietary Guidelines for Americans. Here is the list of members:

  • Jamy Ard, MD – Wake Forest School of Medicine
  • Regan Bailey, PhD, MPH, RD – Purdue University
  • Lydia Bazzano, MD, PhD – Tulane University
  • Carol Boushey, PhD, MPH, RD – University of Hawaii
  • Teresa Davis, PhD – Baylor College of Medicine
  • Kathryn Dewey, PhD – University of California, Davis
  • Sharon Donovan, PhD, RD – University of Illinois, Urbana
  • Steven Heymsfield, MD – Louisiana State University, Pennington Biomedical Research Center
  • Ronald Kleinman, MD – Massachusetts General Hospital, Harvard Medical School
  • Heather Leidy, PhD – University of Texas at Austin (Summer 2019)
  • Richard Mattes, PhD, MPH, RD – Purdue University
  • Elizabeth Mayer-Davis, PhD, RD – University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
  • Timothy Naimi, MD, MPH – Boston University
  • Rachel Novotny, PhD, RDN, LD – University of Hawaii
  • Joan Sabaté, DrPH, MD – Loma Linda University
  • Barbara Schneeman, PhD – University of California, Davis
  • Linda Snetselaar, PhD, RD – University of Iowa
  • Jamie Stang, PhD – University of Minnesota
  • Elsie Taveras, MD, MPH – Massachusetts General Hospital, Harvard Medical School, and Harvard Chan School of Public Health
  • Linda Van Horn, PhD, RDN, LD – Northwestern University

The Committee will hold its first meeting in the coming weeks (to be scheduled). USDA and HHS will issue a public announcement with the date of the first meeting and information on how to register to attend.

Learn How USDA-HHS Established the Advisory Committee 

USDA intends for the 2020 Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee to be governed under the Federal Advisory Committee Act, which provides standards for the formation and use of advisory committees. The Committee will be established to provide independent, science-based advice and recommendations to be considered by USDA and HHS, along with public and Federal agency comments, as the Departments develop the 2020-2025 Dietary Guidelines for Americans.

USDA and HHS issued a public request for nominations to the 2020 Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee (see Press Release). Information on what was required in the nomination package can be found in the Federal Register notice.

The following factors were considered by the Departments in reviewing nominations:

  • Educational background — advanced degree in nutrition- or health-related field, including registered dietitians, nutrition scientists, physicians, and those with public health degrees
  • Professional experience — at least 10 years of experience as an academic, researcher, practitioner, or other health professional in a field related to one or more of the topics to be examined; consideration of leadership experience and participation on previous committees or panels
  • Demonstrated scientific expertise — expertise related to one or more of the topics to be examined by the committee as demonstrated by number and quality of peer-reviewed publications and presentations
  • Obligations under the Federal Advisory Committee Act — ensuring the Committee is balanced fairly in points of view and types of expertise
  • Requirements regarding a balanced membership — including, to the extent possible, individuals who are minorities, women, persons with disabilities, and representatives from different geographic areas and institutions

All complete nomination packages were reviewed by program staff from USDA Food, Nutrition, and Consumer Services (FNCS), the USDA Research, Education, and Economics (REE), and the HHS Office of the Assistant Secretary for Health (OASH). Nominees then were evaluated by the USDA Acting Deputy Under Secretaries of FNCS and REE, in consultation with the HHS Assistant Secretary for Health. The vetting process also included a background check by the USDA Office of the Secretary to determine if any of the candidates have a financial, ethical, legal, and/or criminal conflict of interest that would prohibit them from serving on the Committee. Officials from USDA’s Office of Ethics ensured interests and affiliations of appointed Advisory Committee members comply with applicable conflict of interest statutes, regulations issued by the U.S. Office of Government Ethics (OGE), supplemental agency requirements, and other applicable Federal ethics rules. Each Committee member submitted a financial disclosure report prior to appointment and will continue to do so annually thereafter. Each report was reviewed by USDA ethics officials for financial conflicts of interest and compliance with Federal ethics rules.

The Secretaries of USDA and HHS reviewed formal nomination recommendations, then jointly agreed on individuals to appoint to serve on the Committee. Each Committee member will receive ethics training upon entry on duty and on an annual basis throughout their tenure on the Committee.

See the Topics and Scientific Questions to be Examined by the Advisory Committee 

In 2018, USDA and HHS introduced a new step in the Dietary Guidelines development process. For a variety of reasons, including to support a transparent and deliberative process, the Departments asked for public comments on proposed topics and scientific questions to be examined in the review of the evidence supporting the development of the upcoming 2020-2025 edition of the Dietary Guidelines. The scientific expertise on the Committee aligns with the topics and scientific questions.

  • For full transparency, USDA and HHS are providing the refined topics and scientific questions reflecting USDA and HHS review of public and Federal agency comments to the public in two formats:
    • List A is organized by life stage, which follows the format of the topics and questions posted for public comment. This format makes it as easy as possible for the public to see what has changed.
    • List B provides the identical topics and questions, organized to reduce redundancy and better reflect how the Departments will ask the Committee to proceed with its scientific review. (The Committee will be asked to maintain the life stages approach in its scientific report for USDA and HHS.)
  • View the proposed topics and scientific questions originally posted for public and Federal agency comment.
  • View information on the process used to identify the initial and refined topics and scientific questions.

In addition to a focus on life stages, the topics and questions highlight a continued focus on patterns of what we eat and drink as a whole, on average and over time, to help prevent disease and keep people healthy – now from birth into older adulthood.

 Review the Charter for the Advisory Committee

As required by the Federal Advisory Committee Act (FACA), a charter must be prepared and filed with Congress before a Federal advisory committee can meet or take any action. The charter provides the advisory committee’s mission or charge, specific duties, and general operational characteristics. More information about Federal advisory committee charters and other information related to the FACA is available through the U.S. General Services Administration (GSA).

Review the Charter button

The responsibility for chartering a Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee every five years rotates between USDA and HHS. USDA is responsible for chartering the 2020 Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee and will serve as the administrative lead for the 2020-2025 Dietary Guidelines. There have been legally required changes in the 2020 Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee charter in response to an issue raised by the GSA Committee Management Secretariat, the Federal entity that is responsible for all matters relating to Federal advisory committees. (5 U.S.C. App. 2 § 7(a)). Section 708, of the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2018, a Government-Wide provision, prohibits the interagency financing of advisory committees. Additionally, the FACA requires that only one agency may be responsible for support services at any one time, even if the advisory committee reports to more than one agency (5 U.S.C. § App. 2 § 12(b)). For these reasons, the co-executive secretaries for the 2020 Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee are from USDA. Per the National Nutrition Monitoring and Related Research Act, USDA and HHS will continue to work collectively on the Dietary Guidelines for Americans.

Like previous Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committees, members of the 2020 Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee will be appointed as Special Government Employees (SGEs) and are subject to Federal ethics laws. Information related to the ethical rules and requirements of SGEs is available through the USDA Office of Ethics.

Also new to the charter for the 2020 Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee is reference to the Agricultural Act of 2014, which mandates the addition of dietary guidance for women who are pregnant and infants and toddlers from birth to 24 months of age beginning with the 2020-2025 edition of the Dietary Guidelines.

Questions about the charter? See our Most Popular Questions.

Learn About Opportunities for Public Engagement 

There are multiple opportunities for public participation before, during, and after the Committee’s review of the evidence. Ways to participate include reviewing regularly updated information on our website, attending public meetings, and providing public comments, including opportunities for written and oral comments, once the Advisory Committee has started its work.

We strongly encourage the public to stay engaged and participate in the Dietary Guidelines development process. Announcements will be made at, via the Federal Register, and through our list serv. See our page on this topic, which you can share with others to encourage participation.

Additional Resources