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.


  • Sustainable Diets: Food for Healthy People and a Healthy ... Released: February 10, 2014
    While one of the many benefits of the U.S. food system is a safe, nutritious, and consistent food supply, that same system also places significant strain on land, water, air, and other natural resources. A better understanding of the food-environment synergies and trade-offs associated with the U.S. food system would be one way to help reduce this strain. Part of the challenge is that experts in the fields of nutrition, agricultural science, and natural resource use do not regularly collaborate with each other. In order to bring together experts in these fields, the IOM’s Food Forum and Roundtable on Environmental Health Sciences, Research, and Medicine held a workshop May 7-8, 2013.
  • The Current State of Obesity Solutions in the United States ... Released: February 03, 2014
    On January 7, 2014, the newly formed Roundtable on Obesity Solutions of the Institute of Medicine (IOM) held its first public event, a half-day workshop titled “The Current State of Obesity Solutions in the United States.” The purpose of the roundtable, which includes representatives from public health, health care, government, the food industry, education, philanthropy, the nonprofit sector, and academia, is to engage leadership from multiple sectors to discuss potential solutions to the obesity crisis. Through meetings, public workshops, background papers, and innovation collaboratives, the roundtable will foster an ongoing dialogue about critical and emerging implementation, policy, and research topics to accelerate progress in obesity prevention and care.
  • Caffeine in Food and Dietary Supplements: Examining Safety ... Released: January 17, 2014
    Caffeine is arguably the most ingested pharmacologically active substance in the world and has been a part of many cultures for centuries. But the caffeine-in food landscape is quickly changing. Along with energy drinks and supplements, the array of new caffeine-containing products is rapidly expanding. Historically, scientific research has shown that moderate consumption naturally-occurring caffeine in coffee and tea by healthy adults is not associated with adverse health effects. However, the inclusion of caffeine in products such as soft drinks and other beverages, foods, and supplements raises concerns about safety, whether new products target populations not normally associated with high caffeine consumption – like children and adolescents – and whether caffeine poses a greater health risk to those populations. The IOM held a workshop August 5-6, 2013, to review the available science on safe levels of caffeine consumption in foods, beverages, and dietary supplements and to identify data gaps.
  • Creating Equal Opportunities for a Healthy Weight - Workshop ... Released: November 25, 2013
    The 2012 IOM report Accelerating Progress in Obesity Prevention identified five environments in which change is needed to accelerate progress in obesity prevention. Each of these settings -physical activity, food and beverage, messaging, health care and worksites, and schools– interact with the others, creating a set of interconnected systems that can be changed only through engagement, leadership, and action among many groups and at many levels. The IOM Standing Committee on Childhood Obesity Prevention held a workshop to examine the role of the many factors that contribute to health disparities and to explore ways to create equity.
  • Leveraging Action to Support Dissemination of Pregnancy ... Released: September 16, 2013
    Along with recommending revised pregnancy weight gain guidelines, the 2009 IOM and National Research Council (NRC) report, Weight Gain During Pregnancy: Reexamining the Guidelines, identified evidence that preconception counseling and certain practices, such as charting weight gain during pregnancy, can help women stay within the recommended guidelines. However, many women still do not receive adequate pre- or post-conception advice about weight and pregnancy weight gain. Many women and their health professionals remain unaware of the recommended pregnancy weight guidelines and even those women who are aware of the guidelines may find it difficult to obtain guidance to help them achieve those guidelines. The IOM and NRC held a workshop to present a range of dissemination products, and discuss communication and implementation of recommended guidelines for healthy pregnancy weight gain.
  • 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.