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.


  • Evaluating Obesity Prevention Efforts: A Plan for Measuring ... Released: August 02, 2013
    Obesity poses one of the greatest public health challenges of the 21st century, creating serious health, economic, and social consequences. Despite acceleration in efforts to characterize, comprehend, and act on this problem, further understanding is needed on the progress and effectiveness of implemented preventive interventions. An IOM committee developed a concise and actionable plan for measuring the nation’s progress in obesity prevention efforts. This report offers a framework that will provide guidance for systematic and routine planning, implementation, and evaluation of the advancement of obesity prevention efforts.
  • Nutrition Education in the K-12 Curriculum: The Role of ... Released: July 15, 2013
    With approximately one-third of America’s young people overweight or obese, the childhood obesity epidemic is an urgent public health problem. The 2012 IOM report, Accelerating Progress in Obesity Prevention: Solving the Weight of the Nation, recommended making schools a focal point for obesity prevention. The development and implementation of K-12 nutrition curriculum benchmarks, guides, or standards would constitute a critical step in achieving this recommendation. The IOM held a workshop to discuss the merits and potential uses of a set of national nutrition education curriculum standards and learning objectives for elementary and secondary school children.
  • Educating the Student Body: Taking Physical Activity and ... Released: May 23, 2013
    Currently, less than half of youth meet the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans recommendation of at least 60 minutes of daily vigorous to moderate-intensity physical activity, meaning that today, kids exercise less. Kids’ health risks are increased by a lack of physical activity, which can also jeopardize their well-being throughout their lives. Physical activity is also critical to kids’ cognitive development and academic success. The school environment is key in encouraging and providing opportunities for kids to be active. In this light, the IOM was asked to examine the status of physical activity and physical education efforts in schools, how physical activity and fitness affect health outcomes, and what can be done to help schools get kids to become more active—ultimately improving kids’ health.
  • Sodium Intake in Populations: Assessment of Evidence ... Released: May 14, 2013
    Despite public health efforts over the past several decades to encourage people in the United States to consume less sodium, adults still consume an average of 3,400 mg/day, well above the current federal guideline of 2,300 mg or less daily. Evidence has shown that reducing sodium intake reduces blood pressure and the risk of cardiovascular disease and stroke. Some recent research, however, suggests that sodium intakes that are low may also increase health risks – particularly in certain groups. The CDC asked the IOM to examine the designs, methodologies, and conclusions in this latest body of research on dietary sodium intake and health outcomes in the general U.S. population and certain sub-populations. The IOM committee also was asked to comment on the implications of this new evidence for population-based strategies to gradually reduce sodium intake and to identify gaps in data and research and suggest ways to address them.
  • Challenges and Opportunities for Change in Food Marketing ... Released: March 04, 2013
    The childhood obesity epidemic is an urgent public health problem, and it will continue to take a substantial toll on the health of Americans. The most recent data show that almost a third of U.S. children and adolescents are overweight or obese. Children are exposed to an enormous amount of commercial advertising and marketing for food. In 2009, children age 2-11 saw and average of more than 10 television food ads per day. The marketing of high-calorie, low-nutrient foods and beverages is linked to overweight and obesity. The IOM hosted a workshop which examined contemporary trends in marketing of foods and beverages to children and youth and the implications of those trends for obesity prevention.
  • Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program: Examining the ... Released: January 17, 2013
    The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) is the largest nutrition assistance program administered by the USDA, serving more than 46 million low-income Americans per year, at a cost of more than $75 billion. The goals of SNAP are to improve participants’ food security and access to a healthy diet. The USDA asked the IOM and the National Research Council to consider whether it is feasible to objectively define the adequacy of SNAP allotments that meet the program goals and, if so, to outline the data and analyses needed to support and evidence-based assessment of SNAP adequacy. The committee outlines its findings, conclusions, and recommendations in this new report.
  • Exploring Health and Environmental Costs of Food ... Released: November 08, 2012
    One of the many benefits of the U.S. food system is a safe, nutritious, and consistent food supply. However, the same system also creates significant environmental, public health, and other costs that generally are not captured in the retail price of food. A better understanding of the costs and benefits of the food system would help decision makers, researchers, and practitioners make informed business and management decisions that would expand the benefits of the U.S. food system even further. The IOM and the National Research Council held a workshop to explore the external costs of food, the methodologies for quantifying those costs, and the limitations of the methodologies.
  • The Human Microbiome, Diet, and Health - Workshop ... Released: October 24, 2012
    One of the most intimate relationships that our body has with the outside world is through our gut. Our gastrointestinal tracts harbor a vast and still largely unexplored microbial world known as the human microbiome that scientists are only just beginning to understand. Researchers are recognizing the integral role of the microbiome in human physiology, health, and disease, and the intimate nature of the relationships between microbiome and host. While there is still a great deal to learn, the newfound knowledge already is being used to develop dietary interventions aimed at preventing and modifying disease risk by leveraging the microbiome. The IOM held a public workshop to explore current and emerging knowledge on the human microbiome, its role in human health, its interaction with the diet, and the translation of new research findings into tools and products that improve the healthfulness of the food supply.
  • Fitness Measures and Health Outcomes in Youth : Health and ... Released: September 27, 2012
    Physical fitness affects our ability to function and be active. At poor levels, it is associated with such health outcomes as diabetes and cardiovascular disease. Physical fitness testing in American youth was established on a large scale in the 1950s with an early focus on performance-related fitness that gradually gave way to an emphasis on health-related fitness. In this report, the IOM assesses the relationship between youth fitness test items and health outcomes, recommends the best fitness test items, provides guidance for interpreting fitness scores, and provides an agenda for needed research.
  • Research Methods to Assess Dietary Intake and Program ... Released: June 25, 2012
    The Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP) provides meals and snacks for more than 3 million children in day care homes and centers. At the request of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the IOM conducted a workshop to examine research methods and approaches that could be used to design and conduct a nationally representative study assessing children’s dietary intake and participation rates in child care facilities, including CACFP-sponsored child care centers and homes.