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Communicating Dietary Guidelines to a Balking Public

Rowe, Sylvia MA; Alexander, Nick BA

doi: 10.1097/NT.0b013e31819df822
Nutrition and Communications

The 2010 Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee is busy at work, formulating dietary guidance for Americans based on the best current nutrition science. The paper explores the communication minefield that must be navigated for the public to be appropriately informed. The authors ask, for example, if such an exercise can effectively bring about dietary behavior modification and if the public can truly learn to distinguish among the different levels of scientific certainty manifested in the research reviewed by the Committee.

The real challenge with dietary guidelines is ensuring adherence

Sylvia Rowe, MA, is an adjunct professor at Tufts Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy and at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. She is also the president of SR Strategy, a health, nutrition, food safety, and risk communications and issue management consultancy located at Washington, DC. Previously, Ms Rowe served as president and chief executive officer of the IFIC and IFIC Foundation, nonprofit organizations that communicate science-based information of food safety and nutrition issues to health professionals, journalists, government officials, educators, and consumers.

Nick Alexander, BA, is former senior media counselor for the International Food Information Council Foundation, Washington, DC. He holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from Harvard University. A former network correspondent with ABC News, Mr Alexander has been, for the past 7½ years, tracking and writing about science communications issues and the evolving challenge to public acceptance of credible science.

Corresponding author: Sylvia Rowe, MA, 1100 Connecticut Ave. NW, #1000, Washington, DC 20036 (

© 2009 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.