Published every five years, the Dietary Guidelines for Americans (DGA) recommends what Americans should eat and drink to promote health and prevent chronic disease.  Since 1985, each DGA edition has been informed by the Advisory Committee’s Scientific Report: the latest, the Scientific Report of the 2020 Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee, was published July 2020.  This report reviews the current state of nutrition science, offering evidence-based advice to support the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) in the release of the next edition of the DGA, the 2020-2025 Dietary Guidelines for Americans, scheduled for publication December 2020.

Members of the 2020 Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee, the group responsible for the development of the Scientific Report, were appointed in February 2019 by USDA Secretary Sonny Perdue and HHS Secretary Alex Azar.  ASN is proud to note that 16 of the 20 appointees are ASN members, including three past ASN Presidents: Richard Mattes, Sharon Donovan, and Teresa Davis.

There is no doubt that the work done by the committee will support the best nutrition guidelines and policies

—Teresa Davis, Editor-in-Chief, The Journal of Nutrition

“As Editor-in-Chief of The Journal of Nutrition, I am proud to see The Journal of Nutrition was cited 85 times throughout the Advisory Committee’s report. There is no doubt that the work done by the committee will support the best nutrition guidelines and policies.” said Teresa Davis, PhD, a member of the 2020 Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee and the Birth-24 Months Subcommittee. This subcommittee had the important role of offering nutrition guidance for this age group for the first time in the Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee’s Scientific Report, and the Data Analysis and Food Pattern Modeling Working Group, which assisted other subcommittees with the life-stage approach.

Click here for a complete list of ASN members who served on the 2020 Advisory Committee. 

Working with the Nutrition Evidence Systematic Review (NESR), the 2020 Advisory Committee searched, analyzed, and synthesized the body of scientific evidence to establish best dietary practices.  In particular, the committee was tasked with presenting a life-stage approach to nutrition and, for the first time, offering nutrition guidelines for pregnant women and children from birth to 24 months, as mandated by the 2014 Farm Bill.

Notably, the Scientific Report of the 2020 Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee includes citations to 289 ASN journal articles, constituting more than 10% of the report’s total citations.  Moreover, ASN journal articles were cited in all major topics addressed by the report, from the nutrition needs of pregnant and lactating women to the latest research on added sugars and alcoholic beverages.

  • Advances in Nutrition was cited 10 times, including “Maternal Dietary Patterns and Birth Outcomes: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis.”  ASN member Ai-Ru Chia et al. concluded “adherence to healthy dietary patterns…during pregnancy was significantly associated with lower risk of preterm birth, whereas unhealthy dietary patterns…were associated with lower birth weight and a trend towards higher risk of preterm birth.”
  • The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition was cited a remarkable 216 times.  Among those citations was “Caregiver Feeding Practices and Child Weight Outcomes: A Systematic Review,” conducted as part of the USDA and HHS Pregnancy and Birth to 24 Months Project.  ASN member Maureen K. Spill et al. reported moderate evidence suggesting that “providing responsive feeding guidance to mothers…can lead to ‘normal’ weight gain and/or ‘normal’ weight status in children from birth to 24 months old compared with children whose mothers did not receive responsive feeding guidance.”
  • The Journal of Nutrition was cited 85 times, including “Long-Term Immunomodulatory Effects of a Mediterranean Diet in Adults at High Risk of Cardiovascular Disease in the PREvención con DIeta MEDiterránea (PREDIMED) Randomized Controlled Trial.”  Analyzing the results of a five-year randomized, controlled clinical trial, Rosa Casas et al. concluded that the Mediterranean diet is “a useful dietary strategy for cardiovascular disease prevention.”
  • Current Developments in Nutrition, ASN’s open-access journal launched in 2017, was cited 5 times.  In its chapter dedicated to future directions, the 2020 Scientific Report cited “Harmonizing Micronutrient Intake Reference Ranges for Dietary Guidance and Menu Planning in Complementary Feeding.”  Lynda M. O’Neill et al. provide the “first set of harmonized nutrient reference ranges for the complementary feeding period…identified from the largest and most extensive dietary intake surveys available.”

In short, ASN is proud of the role its members and authors have played in the development of the soon-to-be-published 2020-2025 Dietary Guidelines for Americans.  We will continue to support their important work to ensure that nutrition guidelines and policies are informed by the best scientific research possible. ∎

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