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Who Is Watching WHO?
OMB Watch, a prominent watchdog organization that focuses on the activities of the Office of Management and Budget and other government agencies, recently highlighted the importance of the Data Quality Act in the United States and around the world. The OMB Watch report discusses a data quality challenge filed by the Center for Regulatory Effectiveness (CRE) with the US Department of Agriculture and the Department of Health and Human Services over their announced use of a World Health Organization (WHO) Report on Diet, Nutrition and the Prevention of Chronic Diseases as "a significant base for the pending 2005 Dietary Guidelines."

OMB Watch explains that the industry-backed Data Quality petition filed by CRE "appears to have succeeded in weakening new U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) dietary guidelines." To Winston's ear, it sounds as if USDA and HHS examined the WHO study in light of their quality, objectivity, utility and integrity standards for scientific research and found that it does not pass muster.

The report by OMB Watch went on to explain that the "WHO report recommended that for a healthy diet sugar consumption should remain below 10 percent of the total energy goal. The report also recommended that carbohydrates should comprise 55-75 percent of the diet. The CRE's challenge asserted that other studies placed maximum healthy sugar intake as high as 25 percent and that many successful low carbohydrate diets contradict the WHO recommendation. The group insisted that the WHO should not be used as basis for the new U.S. dietary guidelines."

It sounds to Winston as if international organizations are going to have adhere to US Data Quality standards if they want to US government agencies to adopt or otherwise rely on their work. Some NGOs may not consider this to be a positive development. Winston, however, will sleep more soundly knowing that international organizations have an incentive to not compromise the quality of their work to meet political or other agendas.

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