The Dietary Guidelines for Americans, developed jointly by the Department of Health and Human Services and the Department of Agriculture, provide recommendations based on current scientific knowledge about how dietary intake can reduce risk for major chronic diseases. The Guidelines form the basis of Federal food, nutrition education, and information programs. First published in 1980 and revised in 1985 and 1990, Public Law 101-445, 3, now requires publication of the Dietary Guidelines at least every 5 years beginning in 1995 (1). This legislation also requires review by the Secretaries of USDA and HHS of all Federal dietary-guidance-related publications for the general public (1). The fourth edition of the Dietary Guidelines is scheduled for release in 1995.
Development of the Dietary Guidelines -- A Chronology
1977 Dietary Goals for the United States (the McGovern report) was issued by the U.S. Senate Select Committee on Nutrition and Human Needs (2). These goals were the focus of controversy among some nutritionists and others concerned with food, nutrition, and health.
1979 American Society for Clinical Nutrition formed a panel to study the relation between dietary practices and health outcomes (3). The findings, presented in 1979, were reflected in Healthy People: The Surgeon General's Report on Health Promotion and Disease Prevention (4).
1980 Nutrition and Your Health: Dietary Guidelines for Americans, 1st ed., was issued jointly by HHS and USDA in response to the public's desire for authoritative, consistent guidelines on diet and health (5). The Guidelines were based on the most up-to-date information available at the time and were directed to healthy Americans. These Guidelines generated considerable discussion by nutrition scientists, consumer groups, the food industry, and others.
1980 A U.S. Senate committee on appropriations report directed that a committee be established to review scientific evidence and recommend revisions to the Dietary Guidelines (6).
1983-84 A Federal advisory committee of nine nutrition scientists selected from outside the Federal Government was convened to review and make recommendations to HHS and USDA about the first edition of the Dietary Guidelines (7).
1985 HHS and USDA jointly issued a second edition of the Dietary Guidelines (8). This revised edition was nearly identical to the first. Some changes were made for clarity, while others reflected advances in scientific knowledge of theassociations between diet and a range of chronic diseases. The second edition received wide acceptance and was used as a framework for consumer education messages.
1987 Language in the conference report of the House Committee on Appropriations indicated that USDA, in conjunction with HHS, 'shall reestablish a Dietary Guidelines Advisory Group on a periodic basis. This Advisory Group will review the scientific data relevant to nutritional guidance and make recommendations on appropriate changes to the Secretaries of the Departments of Agriculture and Health and Human Services' (9).
1989 USDA and HHS established a second advisory committee that considered whether revision to the 1985 Dietary Guidelines was needed and then proceeded to make recommendations for revision in a report to the Secretaries. The 1988 Surgeon General's Report on Nutrition and Health and 1989 National Research Council's report, Diet and Health: Implications for Reducing Chronic Disease Risk, were key resources used by the committee (10,11).
1990 The 1990 National Nutrition Monitoring and Related Research Act was passed and requires publication of Dietary Guidelines every 5 years (1). This legislation also requires review by the Secretaries of USDA and HHS of all Federal publications containing dietary advice for the general public.
1990 HHS and USDA jointly released the third edition of the Dietary Guidelines (12). The basic tenets of the Dietary Guidelines were reaffirmed, with additional refinements made to reflect increased understanding of the science of nutrition and how best to communicate the science to consumers. The language of the new Guidelines was more positive, was oriented toward the total diet, and provided more specific information regarding food selection. For the first time, numerical recommendations were made for intakes of dietary fat and saturated fat.
1993 A charter established the 1995 Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee.
1994 The 11-member Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee was appointed by the Secretaries of HHS and USDA to review the third edition of the Dietary Guidelines for Americans to determine if changes were needed and, if so, to recommend suggestions for revision.
1995 A published report of the Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee to the Secretaries of HHS and USDA will serve as the basis for the fourth edition of Nutrition and Your Health: Dietary Guidelines for Americans.
1. National Nutrition Monitoring and Related Research Act of 1990, Public Law 445, 101stCong., 2nd sess. (October 22, 1990), section 301.
2. U.S. Senate Select Committee on Nutrition and Human Needs. Dietary Goals for the United States, 2nd ed. Washington, DC, U.S. Government Printing Office, 1977.
3. Task force sponsored by the American Society for Clinical Nutrition. The evidence relating six dietary factors to the nation's health. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition (Supplement), 32:2621-2748, 1979.
4. U.S. Department of Health, Education, and Welfare, Public Health Service. Healthy People: The Surgeon General's Report on Health Promotion and Disease Prevention. DHEW (PHS) Publication No. 79-55071, 1979.
5. U.S. Department of Agriculture and U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Nutrition and Your Health: Dietary Guidelines for Americans. Home and Garden Bulletin No. 232, 1980.
6. U.S. Senate Agricultural Appropriations Committee, 96th Cong., 1st sess., 1980, S. Rep. 1030.
7. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Human Nutrition Information Service, Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee. Report of the dietary guidelines advisory committee on the dietary guidelines for Americans, 1985.
8. U.S. Department of Agriculture and U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Nutrition and your health: dietary guidelines for Americans, 2nd ed. Garden Bulletin No. 232, 1985.
9. U.S. House of Representatives Conference Committee, 100th Cong., 1st sess., 1987, H. Rep. 498.
10. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Public Health Service. The Surgeon General's report on nutrition and health. DHHS (PHS) Publication No. 88-50215, 1988.
11. National Academy of Sciences, National Research Council, Food and Nutrition Board. Diet and Health: Implications for Reducing Chronic Disease Risk. Washington, DC, National Academy Press, 1989.
12. U.S. Department of Agriculture and U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Nutrition and your health: dietary guidelines for Americans, 3rd ed. Home and Garden Bulletin No. 232, 1990.