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It seems from recent legislation and actions taken by various state dietetics boards that there is a push by national organizations to create laws allowing only RDs to provide nutritional counseling, subsequently limiting the ability of those with related training to provide these services (personal trainers, CCNs, health coaches, and other trained nutritionists).
What do you think about this push toward more regulation of the nutrition field and what are some of the best things people can do to move things in a more open direction that still protects the public interest?
Registered Dietitians (RDs) are generally part of what was formerly known as the American Dietetic Association (ADA) and which has now become the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (AND). AND currently goes from state to state pushing for legislation which makes performing nutrition counseling illegal for anyone except an RD. What do we think about that?
My answer is that AND is not trying to protect the public interest and they have never tried to protect the public interest. If that were true they would stop accepting money from the sugar industry, the nutra-sweet industry and the pharmaceutical industries. They would also stop making untrue statements.
AND is trying to serve their own interests on their own turf. This is a type of one-sided turf war which is one-sided because no one is fighting AND, rather we are defending ourselves against them. If AND would stop fighting people who know much more than they do about nutrition than they would be doing a favor to the public.
One of the best actions people can take is to contact their legislators in any state where RDs are trying to pass legislation which allows only themselves to practice nutrition counseling. Citizens need to argue that there are people whose education and credentials are equal to and/or greater than that of RDs. For a reference to cite, refer to the International & American Association of Clinical Nutritionists which is responsible for the Certified Clinical Nutritionist (CCN) designation. CCNs are generally much more current and knowledgeable regarding counseling the general population on nutrition than other professionals.
David Getoff, CCN, CTN, FAAIM, Price-Pottenger Vice President