• HHS, USDA Seek Comment on Dietary Guidelines Questions

    May 11, 2022, 1:00 p.m. News Staff — Late last month, HHS and the Department of Agriculture released a list of proposed scientific questions that will be used to help develop the 2025-2030 edition of the Dietary Guidelines for Americans. The questions focus on diet and health outcomes across a person’s lifespan, and cover topics such as the relationship between diet and the risk of overweight and obesity, weight loss and weight maintenance, ultra-processed foods, and food-based strategies to maintain a healthy weight and prevent or manage obesity.

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    To ensure that the Dietary Guidelines will be valuable and address public concerns, the agencies are inviting public comment on the proposed questions in the first of several opportunities that family physicians and other individuals will have to provide input on the next edition. All AAFP members are invited to review the questions and submit comments through midnight ET on May 16.

    According to the agencies, all scientific questions will be reviewed from a health equity perspective to ensure that the next edition is relevant to people with diverse racial, ethnic, cultural and socioeconomic backgrounds. In addition, unless a particular population is identified, proposed questions will consider evidence across the lifespan, including for infants, toddlers, children, adolescents, adults, older adults, and individuals who are pregnant or lactating.

    The Dietary Guidelines has been updated every five years since it was first published in 1980. The guidelines play an important role for FPs and other health care professionals by providing food-based recommendations they can use to prevent or reduce diet-related diseases, promote healthy dietary patterns and improve health outcomes.

    How to Submit Comments

    Before submitting comments, the agencies recommend that individuals review the questions and learn about the guideline development process.

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    To submit a comment, visit the Request for Comments webpage and click the blue “comment” box in the upper left-hand corner of the page. The agencies also recommend the following practices when submitting comments:

    1. Clearly indicate the proposed scientific question or questions your comment pertains to and any suggested changes, including a rationale for the change.
    2. If you are suggesting a new scientific question, provide draft wording of the question and a brief summary of the topic, including a rationale for the question’s criteria.
    3. Limit comments to one page per topic.
    4. If you are posting supporting documentation, be sure you do not violate copyright.

    HHS and the USDA will consider all posted comments as they prioritize scientific questions for a soon-to-be-formed Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee.

    What Happens Next?

    Once the public comment period closes, the agencies will seek nominations for the advisory committee, which will review the scientific questions and analyze evidence. The committee will also discuss its work in public meetings over the next few years to allow for transparency and continual public participation in the development process.

    The advisory committee will eventually submit a scientific report to the secretaries of Agriculture and HHS.

    HHS and the USDA will consider the report, along with additional comments from the public and other federal agencies, as they develop the next edition of the Dietary Guidelines. The next edition will ultimately be a foundational document for federal food, nutrition and health policies and programs. It will also serve as the basis for the nutrition education components of USDA and HHS food programs, and for public nutrition education materials.

    To learn more about the Dietary Guidelines development process, including future opportunities for public comment, register with the Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion for email updates.