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September 24, 2019

US Dietary Guidance—Is It Working?

Author Affiliations
  • 1Department of Preventive Medicine, Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, Chicago, Illinois
JAMA. 2019;322(12):1150-1151. doi:10.1001/jama.2019.13976

Nutrition research repeatedly and increasingly has documented evidence demonstrating that diet can favorably influence population health or adversely increase risk of disease. Essential to these research efforts is ongoing, systematic, and comprehensive monitoring of the population’s nutritional status, including eating patterns and food, beverage, and supplement intake within the context of age, sex, racial/ethnic, and sociodemographic factors that underlie eating behaviors. In 1990, the National Nutrition Monitoring and Related Research Act required that the US Dietary Guidelines for Americans be published every 5 years jointly by the US Department of Health and Human Services and the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) “based on the preponderance of current scientific and medical knowledge.”1 This process involves nutrition surveillance of dietary intake through the collection, analysis, and interpretation of what foods the population is eating. In the United States, this is accomplished primarily through the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES), along with other data sources.