Coronavirus Chronicles — COVID-19 and the Dietary Guidelines

The previous post did not even finish listing all the groups that are upset by the newest version of the Department of Agriculture’s Dietary Guidelines. Among them is the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, which represents well over 100,000 dietitians. The gigantic Guidelines recommend what Americans should eat, and mandates those suggestions for about one-fourth of us, if we are fed by schools, carceral institutions, nursing homes, or the military.

Motherhood still an American value

Other demographic groups affected by the Guidelines are babies and mothers enrolled in the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC). In officialese, a “flexibility” is a temporary waiver, and WIC recently extended “more than a dozen” flexibilities, to help its beneficiaries get through the pandemic. Applicants can be approved without being physically present at a government office. Better arrangements are being made for food package pickups.

Other viewpoints

The Heritage Foundation’s objections have a different emphasis. They are not on board with any environmental concerns, and do not like how the report recommends even less sugar than before. These issues, they say, have not been examined scientifically, nor has the suggestion that a man should consume only one alcoholic drink per day, rather than the two that were endorsed in the last edition.

Critics claim that, when either encouraging or disparaging various kinds of food, the Guidelines do not take obesity prevention into consideration. The Low-Carb Action Network wanted a “true low-carb diet” to be included in the quinquennial document. Journalist Jessica Wharton says the group made public its…

[…] extreme disappointment and concern over the final report by the Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee which excludes all low-carbohydrate studies, all trials on weight-loss, and failed to address numerous process and methodological concerns.

Despite the fact that the country’s Black and Hispanic communities are both particularly hard hit by the two plagues, obesity, and the novel coronavirus, their representation on the nutrition panel was disproportionately low.

The group Food4Health Alliance, among others, officially notified government bureaus of their unhappiness because the Guidelines ignore the needs of people in ethnic minorities who suffer from diet-related illnesses, whether genetic or acquired.

Pediatrician and obesity specialist Dr. Yolandra Hancock of George Washington University says,

My concern is that these guidelines, heavily influenced by the food and beverage industry, will dictate what kinds of food are offered at schools and set the eating habits of children, particularly black and brown children, for the rest of their lives.

Your responses and feedback are welcome!

Source: “Chorus of Voices Challenge Lack of Science in Dietary Guideline,”, 09/22/20
Source: “USDA Extends WIC COVID-19 Flexibilities for Duration of the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency,”, 09/21/20
Source: “Scientific Panel on New Dietary Guidelines Draws Criticism From Health Advocates,” 06/17/20
Image by Harry Wood/CC BY-SA 2.0

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Profiles: Kids Struggling with Weight

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The Book

OVERWEIGHT: What Kids Say explores the obesity problem from the often-overlooked perspective of children struggling with being overweight.

About Dr. Robert A. Pretlow

Dr. Robert A. Pretlow is a pediatrician and childhood obesity specialist. He has been researching and spreading awareness on the childhood obesity epidemic in the US for more than a decade.
You can contact Dr. Pretlow at:


Dr. Pretlow’s invited presentation at the American Society of Animal Science 2020 Conference
What’s Causing Obesity in Companion Animals and What Can We Do About It

Dr. Pretlow’s invited presentation at the World Obesity Federation 2019 Conference:
Food/Eating Addiction and the Displacement Mechanism

Dr. Pretlow’s Multi-Center Clinical Trial Kick-off Speech 2018:
Obesity: Tackling the Root Cause

Dr. Pretlow’s 2017 Workshop on
Treatment of Obesity Using the Addiction Model

Dr. Pretlow’s invited presentation for
TEC and UNC 2016

Dr. Pretlow’s invited presentation at the 2015 Obesity Summit in London, UK.

Dr. Pretlow’s invited keynote at the 2014 European Childhood Obesity Group Congress in Salzburg, Austria.

Dr. Pretlow’s presentation at the 2013 European Congress on Obesity in Liverpool, UK.

Dr. Pretlow’s presentation at the 2011 International Conference on Childhood Obesity in Lisbon, Portugal.

Dr. Pretlow’s presentation at the 2010 Uniting Against Childhood Obesity Conference in Houston, TX.

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