Most Popular Questions About the Dietary Guidelines

 

 

Q:  How do I submit a nomination for the 2020 Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee?

A:  Nominations may be submitted by any of the following ways:

  • Email: DietaryGuidelines@cnpp.usda.gov
  • Mail: Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee Nominations, Center for Nutrition Policy and Promotion, U.S. Department of Agriculture, 3101 Park Center Drive, Room 1034, Alexandria, VA 22302
  • Fax: (703) 305-3300 (Attn: Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee Nominations)

A nomination package must include the following for each nominee:

  1. A cover letter that includes the name and place of work for the person being nominated, an explanation of what qualifies the person to serve on the Committee, and a statement to confirm that the individual would be willing to serve as a member of the Committee, if selected;
  2. The name, address, telephone number, and electronic mail address for a) nominator, and b) the individual being nominated; and
  3. A copy of the nominee’s curriculum vitae or resume, limited to no more than 15 pages. Information on requirements for what to include in the curriculum vitae/resume is available at www.cnpp.usda.gov/dietary-guidelines.
  4. A completed Advisory Committee Membership Background Information form (AD-755; OMB Number 0505-0001). (This form can be submitted in the nomination package or it can be submitted separately by the nominee.) See a sample form.
     

Q:  What factors will be considered in selecting the Committee?

A:  Factors USDA and HHS will consider in selecting individuals to serve on the Committee include:

  • 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
     

Q:  Can I nominate more than one person? If so, is it better to do this through one cover letter that lists all nominees or should there be a separate cover letter for each person?

A:  Yes. A separate cover letter for each nominee is preferred.
 

Q:  Can I nominate myself?

A:  Yes.

Q:  Is there a sample cover letter on the website?

A: A sample cover letter is not provided, but the information to include in the cover letter is described at DietaryGuidelines.gov. The cover letter should include the following:

  1. Name and place of work for the person being nominated;
  2. An explanation of what qualifies the person to serve on the Committee; and
  3. A statement to confirm that the individual would be willing to serve as a member of the Committee, if selected.

Q:  Are support letters allowed in the nomination package?

A: Letters of support are not a required element of the nomination package, but if included, can be provided as attachments in the nomination package. Please note that only complete nomination packages will be considered and that nominees will be evaluated based on the five factors indicated on our website.

Q:  Can nominees be from other countries?

A: Yes.

Q:  Do nominees have to be U.S. citizens?

A: No.

Q:  Can individuals who have served on past Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee(s) be nominated?

A: Yes.

Q:  Are current Federal employees eligible for nomination to the Committee?

A: While Federal employees are eligible to serve on advisory committees, the Departments are seeking external and independent experts for the 2020 Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee. Current Federal employees will not be considered for this Committee.
 

Q:  Are individuals who are funded by an HHS or USDA grant eligible to serve on this Committee?

A: Individuals who receive grant funding from any source may be nominated to the 2020 Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee. Each proposed 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.

Q:  Will the 2020 Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee be compensated for its work?

A: Members of the Committee will serve without pay. Reimbursement for travel and hotel expenses to attend in-person meetings is provided, including per diem.
 

Q:  How many people do you plan to have on the Committee?

A:  The 2020 Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee will have 13 to 20 members. 
 

Q:  Will there be a separate Committee to address the topics of pregnancy and birth to 24 months?

A:  No. There will be one 2020 Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee to address nutrition from birth into older adulthood. We have allowed for a larger committee (up to 20 members) anticipating that more members are needed to address the additional topics related to pregnancy and birth to 24 months.
 

Q:  What steps are USDA and HHS taking to create a more rigorous scientific process as recommended by the National Academies?

A:  The National Academies committee identified five values to improve the integrity of the process to develop credible and trustworthy guidelines:
  1. Enhance transparency.
  2. Promote diversity of expertise and experience.
  3. Support a deliberative process.
  4. Manage biases and conflicts of interest.
  5. Adopt state-of-the-art processes and methods.

USDA and HHS support these values and will continue to integrate steps to address these goals. For the first time, the Departments identified and asked for public comments on the 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 Departments added this step in order to promote a deliberate and transparent process, respond to feedback on the Dietary Guidelines development process, identify the expertise needed on the Committee, help manage resources, and ensure the science-based review provided by the Committee addresses Federal nutrition policy and program needs. For more information, see our page regarding the National Academies’ recommendations.
 

Q:  Why did USDA and HHS identify topics and scientific questions before establishing the Committee?

A:  The Departments identified topics and scientific questions to promote a deliberate and transparent process, respond to feedback on the Dietary Guidelines development process, identify the expertise needed on the Committee, help manage resources, and ensure the scientific review conducted by the Committee addresses Federal nutrition policy and program needs. It is considered a best practice and in accordance with the Federal Advisory Committee Act for appointing Agencies to describe to the Committee the advice it is seeking.
 

Q:  What was the process USDA and HHS used to review and consider the public comments on the topics and scientific questions?

A:  During the public comment period of February 28-March 30, 2018, more than 12,000 comments were received via more than 6,000 submissions to Regulations.gov. All submissions are accessible to the public on our page on Regulations.gov. USDA and HHS reviewed and considered every comment in relation to our four criteria: relevance, importance, potential Federal impact, and avoiding duplication. For more on this topic, see our page on this process. In brief, the criteria were:

  • Relevance: Topic is within the scope of the Dietary Guidelines. The focus of the Dietary Guidelines is food-based recommendations; changes to the Dietary Reference Intakes are not within the scope of the Dietary Guidelines. Clinical guidelines for the medical treatment and care of individuals with specific diseases and conditions are not included in the Dietary Guidelines.
  • Importance: Topics for which there are new, relevant data and that represent an area of substantial public health concern, uncertainty, and/or a knowledge gap.
  • Potential Federal Impact: Probability that guidance on the topic in the Dietary Guidelines would inform Federal food and nutrition policies and programs.  
  • Avoiding Duplication: Topic is not currently addressed through existing evidence-based Federal guidance (other than the Dietary Guidelines).
     

Q:  How does having the topics and questions in advance inform the Committee’s work?

A:  The Committee will be established to conduct an independent, science-based review of specific topics and supporting scientific questions – related to nutrition and health from birth into older adulthood. These topics and questions were identified by USDA and HHS with consideration of public and agency comments. These topics were prioritized based on relevance, importance, potential Federal impact, and avoiding duplication. The Committee will limit its review and advice to dietary guidance for human nutrition on the topics and scientific questions specified by the Departments.
 

Q:Will the process to develop the 2020-2025 Dietary Guidelines be different from previous processes?

A:  We are still working through some of the details, but we plan to add some additional new steps in response to the National Academies’ recommendations, stakeholder feedback, and our commitment to have a transparent, inclusive, and science-driven process. Many of the key steps to develop the Dietary Guidelines will remain. We will have an Advisory Committee. The Committee will review evidence and provide a scientific report to USDA and HHS, and USDA and HHS will then develop the Dietary Guidelines. Revisions to the Dietary Guidelines will be informed by the scientific report from the Committee and consideration of Federal agency input and public comments. Look for future announcements about the Dietary Guidelines on our website at DietaryGuidelines.gov.
 

Q: What are the next steps after the call for nominations?

A:  USDA and HHS hope to appoint the 2020 Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee later this year/early next year. The Committee will be established to conduct an independent, science-based review of specific topics and supporting scientific questions – related to nutrition and health from birth into older adulthood. 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 Committee will develop a scientific report that will be submitted to the Secretaries of USDA and HHS. Upon delivery of its report to the Secretaries or when its 2-year charter expires (whichever comes first), the activities of the Committee will be terminated.
 

Q:  Can you provide a timeline of the process to develop the 2020-2025 Dietary Guidelines?

A:  The Departments 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. Our goal continues to be to release the Dietary Guidelines by the end of 2020.
 

Q:  Will there be opportunities for public participation in the Committee’s review of the evidence?

A:  There are multiple opportunities for public participation before, during, and after the Committee’s review of the evidence. We strongly encourage the public to stay engaged and participate in the Dietary Guidelines development process. Announcements will be made at DietaryGuidelines.gov, via the Federal Register, and through our list serv. For more information on opportunities for public participation related to the Committee’s review, see our page on this topic.
 

Q:  What are the Dietary Guidelines for Americans?

A:  The Dietary Guidelines are the cornerstone of Federal nutrition policy and nutrition education activities, providing food-based recommendations to promote health, help prevent diet-related disease, and meet nutrient needs. USDA and HHS jointly publish the Dietary Guidelines every 5 years.
 

Q:  How are the Dietary Guidelines used?

A:  Relied on by Federal agencies, the Dietary Guidelines serve as a central source of guidance that nutrition programs within the government can use to inform their food and nutrition programs and initiatives while tailoring their efforts for their specific audiences, like women and children. The Dietary Guidelines also support the development of science-based nutrition education messages and consumer materials for the general public, as well as for special audiences. Additionally, outside organizations and companies use the Dietary Guidelines in the private sector.
 

Q:  Why are the Dietary Guidelines being updated? Why are they updated every five years?

A:  The Dietary Guidelines were first released in 1980. In 1990, Congress passed the National Nutrition Monitoring and Related Research Act, which mandates in Section 301 that USDA and HHS jointly publish the Dietary Guidelines every five years. The law requires that the Dietary Guidelines are based on the preponderance of current scientific and medical knowledge. The 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines is the current edition until the next edition is released.

Dietary Guidelines home