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June 25, 2015 | 3 minute read

Lobbyists Move to Weaken the Dietary Guidelines; Help Us Protect Them

Food industry lobbyists are exerting pressure on Congress to weaken the soon-to-be-released 2015 USDA/HHS Dietary Guidelines for Americans. If they succeed, the Guidelines will put politics before sound science, and fail to provide useable guidance for Americans that could help prevent thousands of cancers every year.

ShowImage.ashxIn two new appropriations bills now under consideration by Congress, language has been added that would:

  1. Subject the Dietary Guidelines to an arbitrary standard of evidence that doesn’t align with accepted scientific practice observed by other government entities like the National Institutes of Health, the National Academy of Sciences, the Institutes of Medicine, as well as the World Health Organization.
  2. Not allow the Dietary Guidelines to make recommendations on issues closely related to food and nutrition. This would mean, for example, that the clear and convincing evidence about the impact of obesity and inactivity on cancer and other chronic diseases would not be considered.
  3. Prevent the Dietary Guidelines from:
    1. proposing public health ideas to help Americans decrease our national intake of sodium, saturated fat and added sugars
    2. encouraging Americans to increase our physical activity, and
    3. providing practical guidance to families about healthy eating and living

These changes would represent a huge step backward in national health policy, and – crucially, from AICR’s perspective – mean that much of the evidence showing how people can lower their cancer risk would be effectively ignored, including the latest AICR research on the clear and convincing link between obesity and ten of the most common forms of cancer.

The proposed changes are so extreme and antithetical to the Dietary Guidelines’ commitment to science and public health that the Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee – the team of scientists tapped by the government to evaluate the scientific evidence that shape the Dietary Guidelines — has sent a letter to Congress criticizing the new language and requesting it be removed.

You can add your voice and help keep the Dietary Guidelines strong and free of political and food industry interference. Contact the Congressional Committees on Appropriations and let them know you want them to remove the riders on the Dietary Guidelines appropriations bill.

Here’s a few ways how:

Read a draft of one of the Appropriations Bills in question (pdf).

Deirdre McGinley-Gieser is AICR’s Vice-President for Programs. You can also follow her on Twitter at @DMG_AICR

13 comments on “Lobbyists Move to Weaken the Dietary Guidelines; Help Us Protect Them

  1. Morton Satin on

    Which food lobbyists are trying to weaken the Dietary Guidelines? Is there any testimony or written documentation I can reference to see why and how they wish to weaken the Dietary Guidelines.
    Thank you.

  2. Ursula on

    Do you believe there is a way to correct the spelling of “antiethical.” I hate to forward letters with spelling mistakes.

  3. Mike Maybury on

    It is deplorable that industry and their supporters in government are trying to stop good health guidelines for the benefit of the health of the people of the .

  4. Nancy Dieball on

    Congress. Please so not lower expectations in dietary guidelines.
    Cancer prevention is for everyone.
    Thank you. Nancy Dieball

  5. Peggy Colon on

    In my opinion, we should be strengthening our resolve to inform people of the most effective ways to prevent cancer – not watering down the preventive measures we can take.

  6. Lois Phemister on

    Listening to scientists, doctors and nutritionists makes more sense than listening to corporations. Put people’s health ahead of dollars for the already rich.


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