Center for Nutrition Policy and Promotion

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The Center for Nutrition Policy and Promotion (CNPP) is an agency in the U.S. Department of Agriculture, created on December 1, 1994, to improve the health and well-being of Americans by establishing national dietary guidelines based on the best science available. CNPP promotes dietary guidance by linking scientific research to the nutritional needs of the American public through the function of USDA's Nutrition Evidence Library, which it created and manages.

The creation of the Center came at a time when the American public was becoming increasingly aware of the importance of diet, yet was receiving conflicting nutrition messages. The Center, therefore, serves as a touchstone where the public is assured that the nutrition guidance they receive is based on sound research and analysis.

The Center reports to the Office of the Under Secretary for Food, Nutrition, and Consumer Services. The staff of the Center is composed primarily of nutritionists, nutrition scientists, dietitians, economists, and policy experts, all of whom were chosen for their expertise. The Acting Executive Director and permanent Deputy Director is Jackie Haven, MS, RD.

CNPP carries out its mission by (1) advancing and promoting food and nutrition guidance for all Americans; (2) assessing diet quality; and (3) advancing consumer, nutrition, and food economic knowledge.

CNPP Divisions[edit]

Evidence Analysis Library Division[edit]

The Evidence Analysis Library Division (EALD) provides the latest evidence-based science to inform nutrition policy programs that support nutrition guidance provided to all Americans. It was formed to provide a broader-based evidence library to support Federal and external organizations as a repository of the most up-to-date credible literature available in the areas relative to the Dietary Guidelines for Americans: obesity, food groups, weight management, physical activity, food safety, methods of consumer nutrition education program development, risk analysis and nutrients, and social marketing. The EALD monitors, assesses, gathers, analyzes, and consults on the scientific evidence in support of nutrition, food, dietary guidance, nutrition education, and nutrition research policies and outreach programs. This CNPP Division designs and leads a wide range of scientific review projects that inform and support nutrition policy and guidance and serve as the basis for nutrition promotion and education activities. The Nutrition Evidence Library, a major function of the Division, supports the Dietary Guidelines 2010 process. The EALD serves as the USDA model upon which USDA agencies approach scientific review to support the policies for which they have responsibility. Evidence based reviews conducted by the NEL are available at

Nutrition Guidance and Analysis Division[edit]

The Nutrition Guidance and Analysis Division (NGAD) provides national leadership, technical expertise, and cooperation for development of the legislatively mandated Dietary Guidelines for Americans and other nationally significant programs. The NGAD coordinates and shares efforts related to the Federal Advisory Committee Act, thus ensuring that Federal dietary guidance is consistent with the Dietary Guidelines for Americans and is supported across Federal departments. This Division provides leadership in promoting national food and dietary guidance by translating science-based guidance into research-based patterns for food intake and message strategies that consumers can use to make informed decisions and positively change behavior. The NGAD works closely with Federal partners to inform and promote national nutrition policy and conducts policy research on food consumption patterns, nutrients in the U.S. food supply, and consumer expenditures on children. This Division produces and manages the USDA Food Plans and the Healthy Eating Index, a validated dietary assessment tool.

Nutrition Marketing and Communication Division[edit]

The Nutrition Marketing and Communication Division (NMCD) designs, leads, and implements a wide range of nutrition education, marketing, communications, and promotion projects. The NMCD helps consumers, on a national scale, adopt behaviors for making wise food choices and being physically active. This Division also plans and coordinates marketing and communications research involving consumers, health professionals, and nutrition educators. The NMCD develops, leads, and manages public and private partnerships to help multiply the reach of tested nutrition and health messages, works actively with USDA's Nutrition Communicator's Network of public-private partners, and is an active participant in the implementation of the Administration's Let's Move! Campaign. The Nutrition Communicators Network is composed of Community and National Strategic Partners as well as MyPlate On Campus Ambassadors that have signed on to magnify USDA's new MyPlate campaign and extend the reach of 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans messages. The NMCD provides customer support to consumers and professionals and manages the USDA's website.

Major projects administered by CNPP[edit]

Dietary Guidelines for Americans[edit]

The Center serves as the administrative agency within the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) for the issuance of the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, which are the cornerstone of Federal nutrition policy and nutrition education activities. The Guidelines are jointly issued and updated every 5 years by USDA and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) (specifically, the Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion).

Every 5 years, the Departments charter a committee of 13 nutrition experts to review the peer-reviewed, published science on diet and health and develop a report of its recommendations for the next edition of the Guidelines.

The purpose of the Dietary Guidelines is to provide evidence-based advice for people 2 years and older about how good dietary habits can promote health and reduce risk for major chronic diseases.[1] However, as a result of conflicts of interest, the Guidelines sometimes favor the interests of the food and drug industries over the public’s interest in accurate and impartial dietary advice.[2][3][4]

The 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines were released on Jan. 7, 2016.[5] The updated Guidelines recommend that Americans consume "a healthy eating pattern at an appropriate calorie level to help achieve and maintain a healthy body weight, support nutrient adequacy, and reduce the risk of chronic disease. ... [C]hoose a variety of nutrient-dense foods across and within all food groups in recommended amounts. Limit calories from added sugars and saturated fats and reduce sodium intake. ... [And] Shift to healthier food and beverage choices."[6]

MyPlate and the website[edit]

MyPlate, USDA's new food icon is designed as a visual reminder for consumers to build a healthy plate at mealtimes. It replaces MyPyramid and the Food Guide Pyramid as the Government's primary food group symbol. MyPlate is intentionally uncomplicated and serves as a familiar mealtime symbol to remind consumers to think about choosing healthier foods. MyPlate was launched along with the supporting multi-year, multi-modal communications campaign to disseminate the 2010 Dietary Guidelines nutrition messages on June 2, 2011, by the First Lady, Michelle Obama, and Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack. Information about MyPlate as well as the tools to implement the Dietary Guidelines are at

Healthy Eating Index[edit]

The Healthy Eating Index (HEI) is a measure of diet quality that assesses conformance to federal dietary guidance. The original HEI was created by the U.S. Department of Agriculture in 1995. The HEI was revised in 2006 to reflect the 2005 Dietary Guidelines for Americans. A fact sheet and a technical report describing development and evaluation of the HEI-2005 can be accessed.

U.S. Food Plans[edit]

CNPP also maintains and updates the Thrifty, Low-Cost, Moderate-Cost, and Liberal Food Plans. Each food plan represents a nutritious diet at a different cost. The Thrifty Food Plan serves as the nutritional basis for determination of Food Stamp Program benefits.

Nutrient Content of the U.S. Food Supply[edit]

The Nutrient Content of the U.S. Food Supply is a historical data series, beginning in 1909, on the amounts of nutrients per capita per day in food available for consumption. An interactive version of this series allows users to query nutrient and pyramid servings information online.

Expenditures on Children by Families[edit]

Expenditures on Children by Families provides estimates of the cost of raising children from birth through age 17 for major budgetary components.

Executive Directors of the Center for Nutrition Policy and Promotion[7][edit]

# Executive Directors Education Term of Office President(s) served under
1 Eileen Kennedy D.Sc. 1994–1997 Bill Clinton
2 Rajen Anand D.V.M., Ph.D. 1997–2001
3 Eric Hentges Ph.D. 2003–2007 George W. Bush
4 Brian Wansink Ph.D. 2008–2009
5 Robert C. Post Ph.D., MEd., MSc. [1] January 2009–July 2009 (Acting Executive Director) Barack Obama
6 Rajen Anand D.V.M., Ph.D. November 2009–June 2013
7 Robert C. Post Ph.D., MEd., MSc. [2] July- Oct 2013 (Acting Executive Director)[8]
8 Jackie Haven MS, RD October 2013–present (Acting Executive Director)

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Purpose - Dietary Guidelines -". Retrieved 2017-06-23. 
  2. ^ Herman, Jeff (2010). "Saving U.S. dietary advice from conflicts of interest" (PDF). Food and Drug Law Journal. 65 (2): 285–316, ii. ISSN 1064-590X. PMID 24475543. 
  3. ^ "Conflict of Interest in USDA Nutrition Guidelines, Doctors Say". International Business Times. 2011-11-02. Retrieved 2017-06-23. 
  4. ^ Heid, Markham (2016-01-08). "Experts Say Lobbying Skewed the U.S. Dietary Guidelines". Time. Retrieved 2017-06-23. 
  5. ^ U.S. Department of Agriculture and U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Press Release, Jan. 7, 2016. Release No. 0005.16.
  6. ^ 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans. Executive Summary.
  7. ^ "Former Executive Directors". United States Department of Agriculture. Retrieved 2007-09-24. 
  8. ^ (RCPost, Personal Information.

External links[edit]