The Dietary Guidelines Expert Committee (the Expert Committee) met via videoconference in July 2022 to discuss the scope for the revision of the 2013 Australian Dietary Guidelines (the Guidelines). Building on previous discussions, the Expert Committee focussed on identifying aspects of the Guidelines that may need to be considered for evidence review.
Evidence review process
The Expert Committee reflected on the challenges associated with the limited resources available for the revision to the Guidelines, acknowledging that a prudent approach needs to be undertaken and areas of the underpinning evidence prioritised for review.
The evidence review process will include commissioning new or updated reviews to address existing, prioritised evidence gaps. The evidence and other contextual information will be considered using an evidence-to-decision tool, such as the WHO-INTEGRATE framework. This will inform the Expert Committee’s consideration of whether the recommendations in the Guidelines need to be revised to reflect the updated evidence.
The Expert Committee recognised that further consideration would need to be given to developing specific aspects of the review process, including criteria for integrating evidence from the Guidelines which may not be prioritised for review.
Further refinement of the evidence review process will occur out of session with the view to finalise a detailed overview of the process prior to commencement of evidence reviews.
Development of research questions
The focus of the Expert Committee continues to be in refining the scope of the revision, and prioritising which areas of the available evidence base should be reviewed to address critical evidence gaps. Members agreed to prioritise this work and progress out of session.
The Expert Committee also considered principles required to develop research questions, agreeing that the formulation of research questions should align with the processes outlined in the NHMRC Guidelines for Guidelines and the Cochrane Handbook for Systematic Reviews of Interventions.
Guiding principles include: consideration of relevance, importance and impact on population health, and identification of areas where the evidence is most likely to have changed (or emerged) since the development of the 2013 Guidelines. The research questions and prioritisation process will be communicated to stakeholders and published once finalised.
The next meeting of the Expert Committee is tentatively scheduled for late 2022.