3 Ways the Academy of Nutrition & Dietetics Can Impact America

dietitian with apple

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…

  • Tania

    Withou letting go of junk sponsers, I don’t want them giving nutritional advice to anyone.

  • http://twitter.com/fatboythinman Michael Prager

    I am also deeply troubled by the “everything in moderation”/”deprivation diets don’t work” dogma of AND, which I believe is an outgrowth of the ties with corporate sponsors who would not like the cleaner message that some people are better off avoiding some foods. The more processed a food is, the less likely it is to embody good nutrition.

    Further, telling people who have demonstrated an inability to handle some substances in moderation that they *can*, even “should*, eat them is just setting them up for repeated failure and a deepening conviction that they’re bad people. That is not just ineffective, it is injurious to the people ostensibly present to be helped.

  • The Candid RD

    Great post. I love AND, but number three really strikes me as an important statement. The sponsorships they have…sometimes make me really angry. I know they are trying to make money to succeed in their missions, but at the expense of their ethics? I don’t know….

    • http://www.fooducate.com/ Fooducate

      Sponsorships are 10% of AND’s budget. With the new membership numbers, perhaps the junk food sponsors can be dispensed with.

  • Nutritarian

    How about the AND stopping their war against other nutrition professionals? According to the AND, non-RD professionals with masters and doctorates in nutrition should not be giving nutritional advice. They are using their lobbying power to create laws in all 50 states (if they have their way) to criminalize the giving of nutritional advice by anyone who is not an RD. An RD credential is a bachelors level degree with a lot of food service courses. They are tied to big corporations like Monsanto and Cargill. I can’t tell you the nonsense I learned from unhealthy overweight professors in my didactic RD program.

    • http://www.healthy-lifestyle-trainer.com/ Mike Luque

      Could not agree more! What can be done to combat this??