April 16, 2012

What Is the American Dietetic Association Attempting?

This is definitely a two-edged sword and I have to wonder at the basis for the name change. The American Dietetic Association (ADA) changed its name to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (AND) in January 2012. Does this mean that they now have an organization for teaching nutrition and dietetics? Or, is this now an organization through which they will enforce their mafia-style tactics on their members to keep them in line and preaching their mantras. I suspect all of this and more after reading this article in forbes dot com.

The article is several pages and points out a frightening array of changes ahead as they attempt to gain control of the field of nutrition. They are doing this through credentialing and state licensure. In the process, people that have degrees in nutrition and are practicing their profession will no longer be allowed to under efforts being supported and lobbied for by the AND. Until they become credentialed under the Commission on Dietetic Registration, they will be forced to stop what they are teaching. Under the laws supported in some states, if they do not stop, they may face jail time and severe financial penalties.

I even have to wonder if they will go after instructors teaching nutrition in our colleges and universities. This remains to be determined, but under the laws of a few states, this may be possible. We do not need nonsense like this crowding our over worked court system.

What the AND has done in effect is to prevent the nutritionists from forming their own group and credentialing organization. They are in effect legally taking over by bringing this group of people under their control, and credentialing. If you doubt this, why else would this organization apply to the US Patent and Trademark Office for a series of certification marks, a type of trademark related to credentialing, for a comprehensive array of nutrition-related professional titles, including:
  • Certified Nutrition Associate
  • Certified Nutrition Coach
  • Certified Nutrition Educator
  • Certified Nutrition Manager
  • Certified Nutrition Professional
  • Registered Nutrition Associate
  • Registered Nutrition Coach
  • Registered Nutrition Educator
  • Registered Nutrition Manager
  • Registered Nutrition Professional
The certification mark applications, in conjunction with the name change, suggest that the AND is attempting to expand its scope and influence, from its decades-old role as the industry group for Registered Dietitians, to now encompass the entire field and professional practice of nutrition.

To quote from the article “The document specifically bemoans that the word “dietitian” (the trade group’s decades-old area of coverage and specialty) is regulated far more heavily than the word “nutritionist”:
Simply put, governments more strictly regulate the work of and qualifications for dietitians than it does for nutritionists, and competitors are explicit about their intention to exploit this dietetics/nutrition distinction. An array of competitors is already providing would-be clients with personalized health education and nutritional counseling in growth areas such as prevention and wellness and in private practice careers. The required and necessary skill set of RDs competing with these other nutrition professionals may not necessarily be the same that clinical dietitians [sic], but RDs cannot cede this expanding market to others who clearly intend to provide nutrition services. [Emphasis added]”
The document does list in detail the competitive threat posed by many different types of non-RD practitioners who give nutrition advice and includes the threats from nurses, pharmacists, personal trainers, chiropractors, and naturopaths and homeopaths.

As the author of the article was so careful to document, “the devil is in the details.” In several states the then ADA was able to force several qualified nutritionists out of business because the law was not specific enough for their profession in allowing for them to dispense nutritional advice as part of their practice and thus ADA succeeded in forcing them out.

It will be a sad day for nutrition if this is allowed to run its course and obesity will become even more of a problem. Plus we will be forced to live closer to USDA guidelines. If the AND makes further intrusions into the healthcare system, we may be forced to pay fines for not eating by their guidelines.

Carefully read what the full article says and especially take time to read this PDF from the files of the then ADA, now AND.

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