About Publications

Publications from the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine provide objective and straightforward advice to decision makers and the public. This site includes Health and Medicine Division (HMD) publications released after 1998. A complete list of HMD’s publications from its establishment in 1970 to the present is available as a PDF.

  • Front-of-Package Nutrition Rating Systems and Symbols ... Released: October 20, 2011
    Although nutrition rating systems and symbols on food packages intend to help consumers make healthy decisions, the wide variety of systems that are on products today often lead consumers to become confused about what they mean instead of giving them the intended healthy dietary guidance. Congress directed the CDC to undertake a study with the IOM with additional support provided by the FDA and the Center for Nutrition Policy and Promotion in the USDA. The report concludes that it is time for a fundamental shift in strategy, a move away from complex or confusing FOP systems that do not give clear guidance about the healthfulness of a food or beverage and toward one that encourages healthier choices through simplicity, visual clarity, and the ability to convey meaning without written information. The report recommends a simple FOP nutrition rating system that shows calories in household measures and points for the healthfulness of the product, enabling shoppers to instantly recognize healthier products by their number of points and calorie information.
  • Updating the USDA National Breastfeeding Campaign ... Released: September 21, 2011
    Support for breastfeeding has been a priority of the WIC program since its inception in the 1970s. The Loving Support Makes Breastfeeding Work campaign, which the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Food and Nutrition Services launched in 1997, emphasizes key components needed for a breastfeeding mother to be successful. More than a decade after the campaign began, USDA wants to update it, taking into account changes in the WIC program, participants, and technology. On April 26, 2011, the IOM hosted a workshop to bring together experts to discuss what has changed since Loving Support began, lessons learned from other public health campaigns, and suggestions for where to take the campaign in the future.
  • Legal Strategies in Childhood Obesity Prevention - Workshop ... Released: August 10, 2011
    When public health campaigns to buckle up or quit smoking were unsuccessful, legal strategies–such as fines for not wearing a seatbelt and restrictions on where smoking could occur–were used to reduce the number of health issues, injuries, and deaths caused by these behaviors. Childhood obesity is another health concern that remains a substantial problem in the U.S. Could legal restrictions and regulations also help combat childhood obesity? IOM held a workshop October 21, 2010, to bring together stakeholders to discuss the current and future legal strategies aimed at combating childhood obesity.
  • Leveraging Food Technology for Obesity Prevention and ... Released: July 27, 2011
    In order to help reduce the obesity burden on the American population, behavioral scientists have emphasized building an evidence base for understanding what drives the energy imbalance in overweight and obese individuals. Food scientists have tapped into this evidence to develop food technologies that can increase the healthfulness of the food supply by reducing energy density, increasing fruit and vegetable intake, and controlling food portion sizes. The IOM held a workshop November 2-3, 2010, to bring together stakeholders to discuss the opportunities and challenges in using food technology to help individuals with long-term weight maintenance.
  • Early Childhood Obesity Prevention Policies : Health and ... Released: June 23, 2011
    Even the youngest children in the United States are at risk of becoming obese. To combat this growing problem and contribute to efforts in obesity prevention in young children, the IOM reviewed factors related to overweight and obesity from birth to age five, with a focus on nutrition, physical activity, and sedentary behavior. The IOM recommends that healthcare providers take opportunities to make parents aware of their child’s excess weight early on. In addition, the IOM recommends that parents and child care providers keep children active throughout the day, provide them with healthy diets, limit screen time, and ensure children get an adequate amount of sleep.
  • Nutrition and Traumatic Brain Injury: Improving Acute and ... Released: April 20, 2011
    Traumatic brain injury (TBI) accounts for up to one-third of combat-related injuries in Iraq and Afghanistan, according to some estimates. TBI is also a major problem among civilians, especially those who engage in certain sports. At the request of the Department of Defense, the IOM examined the potential role of nutrition in the treatment of and resilience against TBI.
  • Hunger and Obesity: Understanding a Food Insecurity ... Released: March 17, 2011
    Researchers have long observed food insecurity— difficulty providing food for all one’s family members, known as hunger in its most severe form —and obesity occurring together in the same communities, families, and individuals. But the relationship of these two problems is not well-understood. The IOM held a workshop November 16-18, 2010, to explore the relationship between food insecurity and obesity, the current state of the research, and the data and analyses needed to better understand their relationship.
  • Dietary Reference Intakes for Calcium and Vitamin D : Health ... Released: November 30, 2010
    Calcium and vitamin D are two essential nutrients long known for their role in bone health. However, the public has heard conflicting messages about the benefits of calcium and vitamin D and also about how much they need to be healthy. The IOM concludes that there is a strong body of evidence that substantiates the importance of vitamin D and calcium in promoting bone growth and maintenance but there is little evidence of other health benefits.
  • Planning a WIC Research Agenda - Workshop Summary ... Released: November 12, 2010
    In 2009, the U.S. Department of Agriculture received $15 million to conduct research related to its Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children, more commonly known as WIC. The IOM’s Food and Nutrition Board held a public workshop on July 20-21, 2010, to discuss priorities and needs for research on the short- and long-term health effects of the program.
  • Child and Adult Care Food Program: Aligning Dietary ... Released: November 04, 2010
    The Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP) supports the nutrition and health of more than 3 million infants and children and more than 114,000 impaired or older adults. At the request of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the IOM examined meal requirements for CACFP and recommends updates, consistent with current dietary guidance that promotes consuming more healthful, nutritious foods.