The USDA has issued a Call for Nominations for the 2020 Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee
The independent advisory committee will review the scientific evidence to help inform the next edition of the Dietary Guidelines for Americans. The deadline to submit nominations for the Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee is October 6, 2018, at 11:59 pm, Eastern Time.
Good luck with this. I don’t envy anyone serving on this committee.
- The late start. By law, the guidelines are supposed to be submitted in 2020. The committee will be under pressure to move quickly.
- USDA’s dominance. The guidelines are supposed to be jointly produced by two agencies; the other is HHS. The absence of HHS from this announcement seems curious. USDA must be the lead this year and can be expected to allow politics to trump (pardon the expression) science.
- Science politics. Questions—qualitative and quantitative—about fat v. carbohydrates are hotly debated and not easy to resolve.
- Food industry influence. This is always a problem but this influence—on research and policy—is now under sharp scrutiny (my forthcoming book adds to the scrutiny, I hope).
- Government interference. The committee writes an advisory report. Then USDA and HHS take over and do what they please with what the committee produces. And we know, because USDA said so, that this administration intends to take a more active role in setting the agenda and in committee discussions.
- Spotlight. Everything this committee does will be public and publicized on the front pages of newspapers and in social media.
- Courage. It will take plenty.
Here’s what USDA says about factors to be considered in reviewing nominations:
- Educational background – advanced degree in nutrition- or health-related field, including registered dietitians, nutrition scientists, physicians, and those with public health degrees
- Professional experience – at least 10 years of experience as an academic, researcher, practitioner, or other health professional in a field related to one or more of the topics to be examined; consideration of leadership experience and participation on previous committees or panels
- Demonstrated scientific expertise – expertise related to one or more of the topics to be examined by the committee as demonstrated by number and quality of peer-reviewed publications and presentations
- Obligations under the Federal Advisory Committee Act – ensuring the Committee is balanced fairly in points of view and types of expertise
- Requirements regarding a balanced membership – including, to the extent possible, individuals who are minorities, women, persons with disabilities, and representatives from different geographic areas and institutions
More information is available on DietaryGuidelines.gov: