The Academy of Nutrition & Dietetics (formerly known as the American Dietetic Association) announced a membership milestone yesterday – having reached 75,000 members this year. The AND, which is the largest professional organization representing registered dietitians (RDs) in the world, has a dual purpose.
One one hand, it advocates for RDs on various regulatory issues, puts together education events, and in general promotes the RD profession. On the other hand, AND is a resource for the public to learn about nutrition and the RD professional as a source for guidance in eating healthy.
So how do you measure a professional organization’s success? By all means, member enrollment is important. AND must be doing something right.
But there are areas where the AND should evolve, in our opinion:
- Prioritizing RD consultations as a part of every health plan’s basic offering, fully covered by insurer / employer. Many people today do not get any nutrition advice from dietitians simply because they can’t afford it. So they end up getting tips from their physician. But MDs for the most part really don’t understand nutrition.
- Becoming sexy to the public. The AND website is boring. The digital efforts on Facebook and Twitter are simply not interesting enough or exciting enough for consumers to want to learn more about how dietitians can improve their health outcomes. It’s a shame, because there is a vast body of knowledge that can be unleashed.
- Letting go of junk food sponsors. This affiliation is doing so much harm to the good name of dietitians. How can the public trust the RD credential when Coca Cola is a sponsor of the organization? The calories from soft drinks are the biggest single contributor to our nation’s obesity epidemic.
So congrats AND, now let’s tackle America’s obesity…