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.


  • Optimizing the Process for Establishing the Dietary Guidelines ... Released: February 03, 2017
    The Dietary Guidelines for Americans (DGA) is a report that provides nutritional and dietary information with the intention of promoting health and preventing disease, and serves as the basis for all federal nutrition policies and nutrition assistance programs, as well as nutrition education programs. This guidance is updated and presented every 5 years by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). The complicated process of updating the report begins with an assessment of relevant scientific data by a federal advisory committee of nationally recognized experts, called the Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee. When the 2015-2020 edition of the DGA was released, some of the content received criticism from different stakeholders leading to questions about the advisory committee’s composition and membership selection processes.
  • Review of WIC Food Packages: Improving Balance and ... Released: January 05, 2017
    Among the nutrition assistance programs available to low-income families, the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) is the only one that specifically targets the nutritional needs of pregnant, breastfeeding, or postpartum women; infants; and children less than 5 years of age. With support from the Food and Nutrition Service of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine convened an expert committee to review and assess the nutritional status and food and nutritional needs of the WIC-eligible population and provide specific recommendations based on its review and grounded in the most recently available science.
  • Driving Action and Progress on Obesity Prevention and ... Released: January 04, 2017
    Have we begun to tip the scales towards achieving a healthy weight for all Americans? What are the best bets and most promising opportunities that will drive future progress and action in obesity prevention and treatment, and what obstacles need to be overcome? The Roundtable on Obesity Solutions of the Health and Medicine Division of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine held a workshop titled, “Driving Action and Progress on Obesity Prevention and Treatment” to address these questions.
  • Nutrition across the Lifespan for Healthy Aging: Proceedings ... Released: December 29, 2016
    More than 46 million people over the age of 65 years were living in the United States in 2014 and more than 70 million are predicted by 2060. Education, living arrangements, and other demographic characteristics of this older population are changing, with noted variability by sex and race/ethnicity. Health status indicators, including life expectancy and heart disease death rates, have shown improvement, as have economic indicators. The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine’s Food Forum convened a workshop with five objectives
  • Examining Access to Nutrition Care in Outpatient Cancer ... Released: August 15, 2016
    An ad hoc planning committee of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine’s Food and Nutrition Board convened a 1-day public workshop titled “Examining Access to Nutrition Care in Outpatient Cancer Centers,” to explore evolving interactions between nutritional care, cancer, and health outcomes.
  • Meeting the Dietary Needs of Older Adults Exploring the ... Released: July 14, 2016
    On October 28-29, 2015, the Food and Nutrition Board convened a workshop, Meeting the Dietary Needs of Older Adults. The workshop was designed to examine factors in the physical, social, and cultural environment that affect the ability of older adults to meet their daily dietary needs. This document summarizes the presentations and discussions from the workshop.
  • The Role of Business in Multisector Obesity Solutions ... Released: June 29, 2016
    n April 12, 2016, the Roundtable on Obesity Solutions convened a 1-day workshop in Washington, DC, to examine the role of the business sector in obesity solutions. The goal of the workshop was threefold: (1) explore why companies should be involved in obesity solutions and how to encourage them to do so; (2) identify reasons why businesses might be interested in being involved in obesity solutions; (3) identify ways in which business can be engaged in obesity solutions.
  • Assessing Prevalence and Trends in Obesity: Navigating the ... Released: June 21, 2016
    Accurate and meaningful estimates of prevalence and trends are fundamental to describing and understanding the scope of obesity. Policy makers, program planners, and other stakeholders search for and use reports relevant to their population(s) of interest to inform decision making. Interpreting and appropriately applying information derived from such reports, however, is challenging because of variations in methodologies and presentation that exist in the literature. In the report, Assessing Prevalence and Trends in Obesity: Navigating the Evidence, the committee offers a description of the landscape of the literature, a framework for assessing and interpreting published reports, and recommendations for improving future data collection efforts and filling data gaps.
  • Obesity in the Early Childhood Years: State of the Science and ... Released: June 01, 2016
    To explore what is known about effective and innovative interventions to counter obesity in young children, the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine’s Roundtable on Obesity Solutions held a workshop in Washington, DC, on October 6, 2015, titled Obesity in the Early Childhood Years: Emerging Science and Implemen­tation of Promising Solutions. The workshop brought together leaders from many sectors to describe the science of early childhood obesity, from its prevalence and trends to the influence of epigenetics and sleep.  Speakers and participants also explored risk factors for children, effective cross-sector solutions, and opportunities for interventions in the many settings where children live, learn, and play. This summary describes what was discussed at the workshop.
  • Food Literacy: How Do Communications and Marketing ... Released: April 27, 2016
    On September 3–4, 2015, the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine’s Food and Nutrition Board convened a workshop in Washington, DC, to discuss how communications and marketing impact consumer knowledge, skills, and behavior around food, nutrition, and healthy eating.