The Nutrition Evidence Library (NEL) is a systematic review (SR) entity in the United States Departmet of Agriculture's (USDA) Center for Nutrition Policy and Promotion. The NEL supports the mission “to improve the health of Americans by developing and promoting dietary guidance that links scientific research to the nutrition needs of consumers.”
To describe NEL methods to produce SRs that inform evidence-based US federal nutrition-related guidance and programs, such as the Dietary Guidelines for Americans.
High priority research questions are identified. For each question, a literature search strategy with inclusion/exclusion criteria guides study screening and selection. For each included study, data are extracted and risk of bias is assessed. The evidence is synthesizedqualitatively. A conclusion statement answers the question, and the strength of evidence is graded. Research recommendations that address gaps or limitations are identified. SRs are transparent and accessible to the public via https://www.NEL.gov.
The NEL produces SRs to answer food and nutrition questions of public health importance. The methods used ensure the evidence considered is relevant and generalizable to the population of the USA. Critical research gaps and data needs are also identified.
NEL SR methods minimize bias and maximize transparency, while ensuring the SRs produced are relevant, timely, and high quality. NEL SRs are a key source of evidence supporting US governmental efforts to promote evidence-based decision-making to improve health and prevent disease through diet.
Patient/healthcare consumer involvement:
NEL engages a range of stakeholders who offer important perspectives as SR end-users. Comments are solicited from the public (individuals, educational institutions, industry, professional associations, state/local government) during the process of conducting SRs for the Dietary Guidelines for Americans. Topic/question identification leverages input from scientists with technical expertise, and federal nutritionists who understand guidance and program knowledge gaps. Subject matter experts collaborate to conduct SRs (scientists, clinicians, epidemiologists, methodologists, communicators, educators). Research recommendations are used by researchers and agencies that fund research to inform federal guidance and programs and advance nutrition science.