Materials Relating to Scientific Discussions

The Dietary Guidelines for Americans: 1980 to Present

Over time, the Dietary Guidelines for Americans (DGA) has evolved from a consumer-oriented brochure developed by nutrition scientists to a policy document based on a systematic review of nutrition science. The seven editions of the DGA have been notably consistent in their recommendations on the components of a healthful diet, but they have also changed in significant ways to reflect emerging science. The following chart is a brief snapshot of how the development and products of the Dietary Guidelines review process have changed from 1980 to present.

Year Method for Reviewing the Evidence Audience Focus of Guidance Type & Length of Publication Number of Guidelines
1980 Review of current science by select scientists from USDA & HHS, along with collective expertise of scientific community Consumers Healthy Americans
(age not specified)
Brochure; 19 pages 7
1985 Creation of Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee (DGAC) outside the Federal sector; relied on their collective knowledge of nutrition Consumers Healthy Americans
(age not specified)
Brochure; 23 pages 7
1990 DGAC’s collective knowledge of nutrition Consumers Healthy Americans,
ages 2 years & older
Technical Report (48 pages) used as basis for creation of 27 page DGA consumer brochure 7
1995 DGAC’s collective knowledge of nutrition Consumers Healthy Americans, ages 2 years & older, to promote health &
prevent disease
Technical Report* (52 pages) used as basis for creation of 43 page DGA consumer brochure 7
2000 DGAC’s collective knowledge of nutrition Consumers, policy officials, nutritionists,
nutrition educators
Healthy Americans, ages 2 years & older, to promote health & decrease risk of certain diseases Technical Report (87 pages) used as basis for creation of 40 page DGA consumer brochure 10 (clustered into 3 groups)
2005 DGAC’s search & review of the scientific literature Policy officials, nutritionists,
nutrition educators
Americans, ages 2 years & older, to promote health & decrease risk of major chronic diseases Technical Report (364 pages) & on-line appendices (124 pages) used as basis for creation of
84 page DGA Policy Document
41 (23 for general population, 18 for specific population groups)
2010 DGAC’s systematic review of scientific literature using USDA’s newly established Nutrition Evidence Library (NEL) & inclusion of data analyses, food pattern modeling analyses, & other scientific reports Policy officials, nutritionists,
nutrition educators
Americans ages 2 years & older, including those at risk of chronic diseases, to promote health & decrease risk of
major chronic diseases
Technical Report (453 pages) & on-line appendices (266 pages) used as basis for creation of
108 page DGA Policy Document
29 (23 for general population, 6 for specific population groups)
2015 DGAC’s systematic review of scientific literature using USDA’s NEL & inclusion of data analyses, food pattern modeling analyses, & other scientific reports Policy officials, nutritionists,
nutrition educators
Americans ages 2 years & older, including those at risk of chronic diseases, to promote health & decrease risk of
major chronic diseases
TBD TBD

*First DGA policy document mandated by statute (1990 National Nutrition Monitoring and Related Research Act (Section 301 of Public Law 101-445, 7 U.S.C. 5341, Title III) (US Congress, 1990)