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Your Questions About the 2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans Answered!

As promised, Dr. Donovan has answered your questions that did not get answered during the webinar that she presenter on January 27.

If you missed it you can watch the recording at:

You can still earn CE credits by completing the webinar evaluation after watching the recording.


Watch the recording:

Do you foresee recommendations for meal patterns that support sustainability/eco-friendly efforts to be included in future editions of the DGA?

The Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee recommended that future editions of the DGA consider the DGA within the context of the food environments and overall food systems.  “However, the Committee encourages the Secretaries to identify mechanisms to examine the connections between the recommendations in the Dietary Guidelines for Americans and these aspects of the food system and food environment. Health status and a sustainable food system are both complex entities that are dependent on multiple interacting factors that are particularly important in low socioeconomic populations that are at high risk for nutrition-sensitive health conditions. Understanding and mapping these factors can enable decision-making that supports the health and well-being of the U.S. population. (page 41 of the DGAC report).”  We also encouraged that partnerships among Federal agencies can be a mechanism to initiate such a discussion.

Why is the final picture highlighting a bottle? Why include a picture of a bottle of milk with a baby on last (thank you slide)? Suggest one that does not include a bottle given the value of breastfeeding.

Thank you for bringing it to my attention. It was one of the slides provided in the USDA slide set.  I have let them know about this issue.  However, as noted breastfeeding is recommended as the food pattern for 0-6 months and as long as mutually desired.  Also, a photo on the front page of the DGA includes a breastfeeding baby.

Has the recommended levels of physical activity been removed from the Appendix of the guidelines? I could not locate it in the new version. It was previously Appendix 1: PA guidelines for Americans.

The government decided that for this addition of the DGA, that the committee would not repeat the work of other federal committees that has issued guidelines (e.g. physical activity, food safety).  Page 73 of the DGA report refers reader to:

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Service’s Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans and related Move Your Way® resources have more information about the benefits of physical activity and tips on how to get started. Available at

Did you find any gaps in the research materials that indicate a need for more research?

Many!! These are outlined in Part E. Future Directions of the Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee report, available on the DGA website:

The American Society for Nutrition is also hosting a three-part webinar on the topic: Upcoming webinars are “Utilizing Evidence Gaps Identified by the 2020 Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee Report to Inform Research Priorities” (Feb 10, 1-2 pm EST) and “Designing, Implementing and Presenting Research to be Reviewed by the 2025 Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee” (March 10, 1-2 pm EST). CPEs are available for RDN.

Was there any discussion about putting water on the MyPlate instead of milk?

The DGAC was not part of these discussions, since this occurred during the formation of the actual DGA.  However, I know from the Food Pattern Modeling, that if dairy was not included, it was difficult to meet nutrient needs (vitamin D, calcium) without the use of supplements or highly fortified foods.

Get your copy of the Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2020-2025 at

Photo by Dominika Roseclay from Pexels.