5700 Martin Luther King Jr. Way
/ Oakland CA 94609-1673
(510) 450-7939 / FAX (510) 450-7935;
August 19, 2004
The Honorable Tommy G. Thompson
Secretary of Health and Human Services
200 Independence Avenue, S.W.
Washington, D.C. 20201
The Honorable Ann M. Veneman
Secretary of Agriculture
1400 Independence Avenue, S.W.
Whitten Bldg., Room 200A
Washington, D.C. 20250
Dear Secretaries Thompson and Veneman,
On behalf of the entire 2005 Dietary Guidelines Advisory
Committee, I am very pleased to submit the "Report of the
Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee on the Dietary Guidelines
for Americans, 2005."
In your charge to our Committee you asked that we take a
different approach from that of previous Dietary Guidelines
Advisory Committees. Rather than just considering how the
2000 Dietary Guidelines should be changed, you asked that
we conduct an evidence-based review of diet and health. Thus,
we initially posed over 40 specific questions related to dietary
guidance. We then thoroughly reviewed the scientific literature
pertaining to those questions, analyzed national data sets,
sought additional information from invited experts, and deliberated
on the results. After dropping some questions because of incomplete
or inconclusive data, we wrote conclusive statements and a
comprehensive rationale for 34 of the original questions.
This evidence-based analysis of the science formed the basis
for the 9 major messages that the Committee believes should
be conveyed in the 2005 Dietary Guidelines of Americans. Although
this approach was challenging and demanding for the Committee
and Staff, we believe that the scientific documentation for
our major messages is done more systematically and meticulously
than that of previous Advisory Committees. Our process did
not eliminate the need for scientific judgment in resolving
issues characterized by conflicting information. However,
the Committee considered such issues with care, and came to
sound consensus on all questions.
During the Committee's deliberations an overall theme for
our report emerged. Collectively, available scientific data
show that Americans need to select a quality diet while staying
within their calorie requirements to achieve optimum health.
Because of sedentary lifestyles and poor food choices, many
Americans exceed their caloric needs without meeting their
nutrient requirements. This not only causes obesity and related
diseases, but it also leads to malnutrition. Specific recommendations
are provided within the report to improve diet quality without
exceeding caloric needs. Major changes in the food habits
and lifestyles of Americans are required to achieve this goal.
The Committee recommends that your respective Departments,
charged with the responsibility for the health and nutrition
of the nation, initiate a national effort to reverse our escalating
trend towards poor nourishment and health in a land of plenty.
This requires many changes throughout our Society. Most specifically,
we must explicitly address the extraordinary health disparities
documented among our most economically disadvantaged in comparison
to our most economically advantaged. Improved access to nutrient-rich
foods at home, schools, work-places, and restaurants, opportunities
for physical activity in all neighborhoods, schools, and work-places,
and widespread education regarding the impact of individual
choices are examples of changes we must effectuate .
On behalf of the entire Committee, I wish to thank you for
the opportunity to serve our fellow citizens in this way.
Although the charge to our Committee seemed daunting at times,
we learned a tremendous amount from serving and benefited
personally from the process. We appreciate your trust in us
to accomplish this important task of making a contribution
to the health of all Americans. I especially wish to thank
you for assembling such an outstanding Committee with which
to work on this endeavor. Every member made a unique contribution,
and all committed themselves to the process. We truly enjoyed
the camaraderie of working together on such an important mission.
I want to emphasize that this report could not have been
completed without the excellent, diligent work of the Staff
you provided. They were extremely dedicated and put in many
long days and week-ends assisting the Committee. The hard
work and extensive contributions of Carol Suitor need special
recognition. Her guidance and assistance on how to present
our information in a useful, readable manner were invaluable.
The Committee looks forward to the subsequent documents and
discussion this report will generate. We believe that we have
provided a strong foundation for that dialogue and work. We
are very interested in the future dissemination of this information.
Please do not hesitate to contact me or any of my colleagues
should you wish to discuss this report with us.
Janet C. King, Ph.D.
Chair, 2005 Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee
Senior Scientist and
University of California, Berkeley and Davis
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