The U.S. Departments of Agriculture (USDA) and Health and Human Services (HHS) are looking to the public for help. In creating the 2020-2025 Dietary Guidelines for Americans, they are reaching out to the community to conduct their research.
Every 5 years, the USDA updates their guidelines to match current research and to keep the public knowledgeable on the best nutritional information. For the 2020-2025 edition, the USDA has begun to conduct new research through the public, asking for public comments and questions on topics supporting scientific questions to help with the development of the next publication.
This new approach is meant to provide the public with more transparency and opportunities to participate. This is a new step in the Dietary Guidelines process; the USDA is looking for public comments and questions on the proposed topics, to get a better understanding for what the public thinks of current dietary research, what they do or do not already know, and what they would like to know in the future. This window of opportunity will be open to the public for 30 days, beginning February 28 of this year and ending March 30.
The 2020-2025 Dietary Guidelines topics the USDA and HHS are proposing are based on four criteria:
• Relevance – This topic is within scope of the Dietary Guidelines and its focus on food-based recommendations, not clinical guidelines for medical treatment.
• Importance – This topic for which there is new, relevant data and represents an area of substantial public health concern, uncertainty, and/or knowledge gap.
• Potential Federal Impact – The probability that guidance on the topic would inform Federal food and nutrition policies and programs.
• Avoiding Duplication – This topic is not currently addressed through existing evidence-based Federal guidance (other than the Dietary Guidelines).
One of the main focuses of the 2020-2025 Dietary Guidelines is a “life stages approach”, which focuses on scientific questions from birth through young toddlers. The 2014 Farm Bill mandated that starting with this edition, the Dietary Guideline is required to give guidance for pregnant women, infants, and toddlers up to 24 months. This approach is also hoping to get a better understanding on the patterns of what the public eats and drinks on average, as well as over longer periods of time.
The USDA and the HHS are looking for both supportive and opposing comments on the topics they have provided, so that they can further understand what the public is thinking. All of the public comments will be considered equally in creating the 2020-2025 Dietary Guidelines.
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