The Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee (DGAC) held its fifth meeting, again via webinar, on September 16 and 17, 2014. The meeting centered around reports from the five subcommittees, as well as from the Added Sugars, Sodium, and Physical Activity Working Groups. In a surprise move, Dr. Richard Olson, Designated Federal Officer, Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion (HHS), announced that there will be a sixth meeting in early November. This meeting was to have been the final public meeting of the DGAC and Olson’s announcement sparked speculation that the Committee is struggling to complete its task within the designated timeframe.
The DGAC also seemed to be finding plenty not to like about the state of the current American diet. Subcommittee One, Food & Nutrient Intakes and Health: Current Status and Trends, painted a dire picture, stating that the overall dietary quality in the United States, regardless of where food is obtained, is of “major” public health concern. “Urgent, bold action is needed at all levels, including support for federal regulations for food labeling, efforts by food industry and food retailers to provide food choices consistent with the Dietary Guidelines, and promotion of these healthier foods,” the Subcommittee stated.
The Subcommittee’s conclusions, still in draft form, also called on food manufacturers and restaurants to reformulate foods to be higher in whole grains, fruits, and vegetables, and lower in refined grains, saturated fat, and sodium. Recommendations further emphasized implementation of “behavior change strategies” in schools, worksites, health care, and other community settings.
ABA is continuing to closely monitor, and provide feedback to the Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee through leadership of the Grain Chain, as well as through participation in a broader food industry coalition. The Grain Chain will be meeting on September 25 to discuss and review this most recent meeting and coordinate strategy moving forward including plans to provide oral testimony at an open meeting to be held early in 2015.