The art of translating nutritional science into dietary guidance: history and evolution of the Dietary Guidelines for Americans


ML Watts, American Association for Cancer Research, 1425 K St., NW, Suite 250, Washington, DC 20005, USA. E-mail:, Phone: +1-202-898-6499, Fax: +1-202-898-0966.


The United States government has published official Dietary Guidelines for Americans (DGA) since 1980 and has recently released the 2010 version. Serving as a foundational cornerstone for federal nutrition policy, the DGA embrace current nutritional science and translate it into practical guidance to enhance the overall health of Americans. This article reviews the history and process for developing the DGA, including the incorporation of sophisticated and systematic techniques for reviewing emerging evidence. It also explores issues related to implementation of the guidelines through federal policy, the food supply, and consumer knowledge and behavior.