Action Needed TODAY: Dietary Guidelines

Jun 23, 2015 by

Action Needed TODAY: Dietary Guidelines

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

COPC Intern Caroline Messerschmidt explains what is happening with the 2015 Dietary Guidelines, why you should care, and why you should take action today….

What’s the point of asking an expert, if we don’t listen to them? That’s just what the Appropriations Committee is readying to do with the latest riders on the 2015 Dietary Guidelines.

In the past: Every five years, the Dietary Guidelines for Americans are updated. These guidelines are used as the evidence base for numerous policies and programs, thus updating them with the latest science is critical. The Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee (DGAC), a group of 14 appointed nutrition and physical activity experts, is tasked with analyzing the latest research and developing a list of recommendations, a process that takes almost two years in length.

What happened this year: The DGAC developed their report of recommended changes. Their report was open for public comment and comments were considered. Then, politics got in the way. A rider was introduced.

The current rider attempts to do two things:

1) Limit the research that can be used to support recommendations. • This excludes a huge body of evidence and is not consistent with common scientific practice. It inherently keeps the guidelines outdated and undermines the expertise of the DGAC.

2) Limit guidelines to only matters concerning diet or nutrients. • Existing research indicates that, in addition to what we eat, lifestyle factors and physical activity, are crucial to preventing disease and maintaining a healthy weight. With this limitation, the substantial evidence to support this path to improved health is lost.

Overall, this rider prohibits moving forward with the current science and the latest public health research. For example, the recommendations would disregard the ample evidence suggesting that a diet high in fruits and vegetables is beneficial to disease prevention. The rider also prohibits the guidelines from making suggestions such as, “parents should use meal times to role model a healthy eating pattern for their children”.

Too often, the connection is lost between poor dietary decisions and the effect on one’s health in years to come. For many Americans trying to eat better, they don’t know where to start. If the dietary guidelines are “watered down” it may be years or even decades before we begin to decrease the high rates of obesity and related chronic diseases affecting so many of us.

We need you to: Tell Congress you are against the Riders on the 2015 Dietary Guidelines! Please write to them TODAY at

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