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Nutritional Scientist Named to USDA Dietary Guidelines Committee

Nutritional Scientist Named to USDA Dietary Guidelines Committee

Heather Leidy, associate professor of nutritional sciences, will be among 20 scientific experts who will draft dietary guidelines for the United States.

Heather Leidy

Leidy, who recently joined the faculty of the Nutritional Sciences Department at The University of Texas at Austin, was named this week to the U.S. Department of Agriculture's (USDA) 2020 Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee. Twenty nationally recognized scientists will serve on the committee.

"The scientists we selected to serve on the committee are national leaders in the areas of nutrition and health," said Health and Human Service (HHS) Secretary Alex Azar in a press release. "HHS, USDA and all Americans will benefit from the collective experience and expertise of the committee, which will conduct a rigorous examination of the scientific evidence on several diet-related health outcomes, including the prevention of cancer, type 2 diabetes, and cardiovascular disease, which are three of the leading causes of death in the United States."

The USDA drafts new dietary guidelines every five years that are used to help inform food policy, federal nutrition programs and public health policy.

According to the USDA release: "The next edition of the Dietary Guidelines for Americans will continue to focus on dietary patterns of what Americans eat and drink as a whole, on average and over time, to help prevent disease and keep people healthy. Additionally, the review process will take a life-stage approach and will, for the first time, include pregnant women and children from birth to 24 months as mandated by the 2014 Farm Bill."

Leidy's research focuses on the relationship between protein and weight management, particularly in young people. She also studies the connection between breakfast consumption, circadian rhythms and sleep behavior. She earned her B.S. in biology from Shippensburg University, her M.S. in physiology at Penn State and her Ph.D. in physiology from Penn State. After completing postdoctoral work at the Ingestive Behavior Research Center and the Department of Nutrition Science at Purdue University, she joined the faculty of Purdue. She will arrive in Austin this fall. 

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Friday, 06 December 2019

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