Materials Relating to Scientific Discussions

U.S. Department of Agriculture
U.S. Department ofHealth and Human Services
Birth to 24 Months Dietary Guidance Development Project

The Dietary Guidelines for Americans (DGA) provides sound advice for making food and physical activity choices that promote good health and a healthy weight, and help prevent disease for Americans ages 2 years and over, including Americans at increased risk of chronic disease. The DGA has traditionally focused on adults and children 2 years of age and older because of the unique nutritional needs, eating patterns, and developmental stages of infants and toddlers from birth to 24 months of age.  In recent years, there has been a growing demand both within and outside of government for the DGA to include infants and toddlers. In response to these requests, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) have initiated a project to develop guidance for this important age group.

The goals for this project are to:

  • Develop comprehensive guidance for the birth to 24 month age group
  • Use a rigorous and transparent process informed by a broad range of experts in the field of infant and toddler nutrition and health
  • Provide foundational guidance for the birth to 24 month age group that can be incorporated and updated in future editions of the DGA, beginning in 2020

To accomplish these goals, USDA and HHS have implemented a four phase plan, outlined below. Updates on the project will be posted at

Snapshot - Dietary Guidelines Revision Process
The DGA forms the basis of Federal nutrition policy, education, outreach, and food assistance programs. The DGA is reviewed, updated, and published every 5 years as a joint effort between USDA and HHS. To inform the revision of the DGA, USDA and HHS appoint a Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee (DGAC) consisting of nationally recognized experts in the field of nutrition and health. The DGAC reviews current scientific literature and prepares a report for the Secretaries of USDA and HHS that provides recommendations for the next editionof the DGA. The Departments then develop the Dietary Guidelines based on the DGAC’s report and a consideration of public and Federal Agency comments.

Phase I—Topics are selected and research needs are identified (Oct 2012—May 2013): Four expert work groups, convened by HHS and USDA, identify topics, systematic review questions, and research and/or data needs for informing the future development of guidance for the birth to 24 month population

Phase II—Evidence is gathered and synthesized (Oct 2013—Jan 2017): USDA’s Nutrition Evidence Library convenes Technical Expert Collaboratives (TECs) to conduct systematic reviews; USDA and HHS perform data analyses; public comments are requested

Phase III—Guidance is developed (Jan 2017—Jan 2018): ):  A Federal group of experts develops guidance using reports from the TECs, data analyses, and other evidence-based reports, taking into consideration public and Federal Agency comments

Phase IV—Guidance is considered for the 2020 DGA (2018-2020): The guidance developed in Phase III is provided to the 2020 Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee (DGAC) for their use in incorporating this age group into the 2020 DGAC Report; the Report is used as the scientific basis for the 2020 DGA