In my over three decades of work in the field of food and nutrition, I have participated in many efforts that seek new policy initiatives in the hopes that these programs can curb rates of obesity and chronic disease and help consumers make healthier dietary choices. Because of the profound effect that many of these policies have on consumers, the food environment, federal nutrition assistance programs and subsequent policy and regulatory recommendations, it is imperative that only the strongest, best available evidence is used to set policy. This review evaluates methods by which current nutrition policies use scientific research as well as provides recommendations for how best to ensure future nutrition policies are truly science-based and likely to have a meaningful impact on public health. Specifically, this review will: • Describe the current food and nutrition policy environment in the US • Examine how science is used in federal food and nutrition policymaking efforts, using the Dietary Guidelines for Americans (DGA) as an example • Describe strong versus weak science as well as what types of studies are most appropriate for use in policymaking • Discuss the potential effects and consequences of making policy recommendations in the absence of scientific consensus or agreement • Make recommendations to support the present and ongoing development of science-based policy likely to positively impact public health
Bibliographical notePublisher Copyright:
© 2015 Slavin.; licensee BioMed Central.
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