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 September 2018, the U.S. Departments of Agriculture and Health and Human Services requested nominations to the 2020 Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee. The topics and supporting scientific questions that the selected Committee will be asked to address also were released.

The call for nominations is now closed. The Departments are currently reviewing nominations and plan to announce the Committee membership in the coming months.

On October 5, 2018, the charter for the 2020 Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee was filed and is now available.

Learn How USDA-HHS Will Establish the Advisory Committee 

USDA intends for the 2020 Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee to be formed and 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 requested 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 will be 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 will be 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 will be 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 will include 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. USDA ethics officials will ensure 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 will submit a financial disclosure report upon appointment and annually thereafter. Each report will be reviewed by USDA ethics officials for financial conflicts of interest and compliance with Federal ethics rules.

Formal nomination recommendations will be prepared for review by the Secretaries of USDA and HHS. Individuals who are appointed to serve as members of the Committee will be jointly agreed upon by the Secretaries of USDA and HHS. Each committee member will receive ethics training upon entry on duty and on an annual basis throughout their tenure on the committee.

We hope to announce membership to the 2020 Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee later this year/early next year. The Committee will review evidence from that time until early 2020. It will meet approximately five times; all Committee meetings will be open to the public. Additionally, the public will be encouraged to submit public comments throughout the course of its operation. The activities of the Committee will terminate upon delivery of its report to the Secretaries or when its 2-year charter expires (whichever comes first).

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

A new step in the Dietary Guidelines development process was introduced by the Departments. 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 topics and scientific questions will shape the areas of scientific expertise needed on the Committee.

  • 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 responsibile 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. Additionally, the charter notes the new step the Departments took to identify the topics and scientific questions to be examined in the review of evidence by the Committee.

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.

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