Food and Behaviour Research

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Scientific Report of the 2015 Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee

Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee (2015)     U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA).


The 2015 Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee (DGAC) was established jointly by the Secretaries of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA).

The Committee was charged with examining the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, 2010 to determine topics for which new scientific evidence was likely to be available with the potential to inform the next edition of the Guidelines and to place its primary emphasis on the development of food-based recommendations that are of public health importance for Americans ages 2 years and older published since the last DGAC deliberations.

The 2015 DGAC’s work was guided by two fundamental realities.
First, about half of all American adults—117 million individuals—have one or more preventable, chronic diseases, and about two-thirds of U.S. adults—nearly 155 million individuals—are overweight or obese.
These conditions have been highly prevalent for more than two decades. Poor dietary patterns, overconsumption of calories, and physical inactivity directly contribute to these disorders.

Second, individual nutrition and physical activity behaviors and other health-related lifestyle behaviors are strongly influenced by personal, social, organizational, and environmental contexts and systems.
Positive changes in individual diet and physical activity behaviors, and in the environmental contexts and systems that affect them, could substantially improve health outcomes. Recognizing these realities, the Committee developed a conceptual model based on socio- ecological frameworks to guide its work (see Part B. Chapter 1: Introduction) and organized its evidence review to examine current status and trends in food and nutrient intakes, dietary patterns and health outcomes, individual lifestyle behavior change, food and physical activity environments and settings, and food sustainability and safety.

The remainder of this Executive Summary provides brief synopses of the DGAC’s topic-specific evidence review chapters. Each of these chapters ends with a list of research recommendations (see Appendix E-1: Needs for Future Research for a compilation of these recommendations). The Committee integrated its findings and conclusions into several key themes and articulated specific recommendations for how the report’s findings can be put into action at the individual, community, and population levels.


In Chapter 2 of the scientific report, the following summarising statement is made:

"The overall body of evidence examined by the 2015 DGAC identifies that a healthy dietary pattern is higher in vegetables, fruits, whole grains, low- or non-fat dairy, seafood, legumes, and nuts; moderate in alcohol (among adults); lower in red and processed meats;and low in sugar-sweetened foods and drinks and refined grains."

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