The American Dietetic Association
) is the United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...
' largest organization of food
Food is any substance consumed to provide nutritional support for the body. It is usually of plant or animal origin, and contains essential nutrients, such as carbohydrates, fats, proteins, vitamins, or minerals...
Nutrition is the provision, to cells and organisms, of the materials necessary to support life. Many common health problems can be prevented or alleviated with a healthy diet....
professionals, with nearly 72,000 members. The American Dietetic Association is officially changing its name to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics
. The announcement was made Saturday, September 24, 2011 at the Food & Nutrition Conference & Expo in San Diego, Calif. The change will go into effect January 2012. Approximately 72% of ADA's members are registered dietitians
Dietitians supervise the preparation and service of food, develop modified diets, participate in research, and educate individuals and groups on good nutritional habits. The goals of dietitians are to provide medical nutritional intervention, and to obtain, safely prepare, serve and advise on...
and about 2% are dietetic technicians, registered. The remainder of ADA's members include researchers, educators, students, nurses, physicians, pharmacists, clinical and community dietetics professionals, consultants and food service managers.
ADA was founded in 1917 in Cleveland, Ohio
Cleveland is a city in the U.S. state of Ohio and is the county seat of Cuyahoga County, the most populous county in the state. The city is located in northeastern Ohio on the southern shore of Lake Erie, approximately west of the Pennsylvania border...
, by a group of women led by Lenna F. Cooper and ADA's first president, Lulu C. Graves, who were dedicated to helping the government conserve food and improve public health
Public health is "the science and art of preventing disease, prolonging life and promoting health through the organized efforts and informed choices of society, organizations, public and private, communities and individuals" . It is concerned with threats to health based on population health...
during World War I
World War I , which was predominantly called the World War or the Great War from its occurrence until 1939, and the First World War or World War I thereafter, was a major war centred in Europe that began on 28 July 1914 and lasted until 11 November 1918...
. It is now headquartered in Chicago, Illinois.
ADA's mission is "Empowering members to be the nation's food and nutrition leaders." Its vision is "Optimizing the nation's health through food and nutrition."
Registered Dietitian (RD)
Requirements include the following items:
- Earning a bachelor’s degree with course work approved by ADA’s Commission on Accreditation for Dietetics Education. Coursework typically includes food and nutrition sciences, foodservice systems management, business, economics, computer science, sociology, biochemistry, physiology, microbiology and chemistry.
- Completing an accredited, supervised practice program at a health-care facility, community agency or foodservice corporation.
- Passing a national examination administered by the Commission on Dietetic Registration.
- Completing continuing professional educational requirements to maintain registration.
Approximately 50% of RDs hold advanced degrees. Some RDs also hold additional certifications in specialized areas of practice, such as pediatric or renal nutrition, nutrition support and diabetes education.
Dietetic Technician, Registered (DTR)
DTRs work with RDs and undergo similar training though the education requirement is a minimum of an Associate's degree.
Professional educational programs
ADA's Commission on Accreditation for Dietetics Education (CADE) is recognized by the Council on Higher Education Accreditation and the United States Department of Education as the accrediting agency for education programs that prepare dietetics professionals. CADE accredits and approves more than 600 undergraduate and graduate didactic, dietetic technician and supervised practice programs.
The American Dietetic Association Foundation (ADAF) was established in 1966 as a 501(C)(3) public charity. Its mission is to advance public health and nutrition utilizing the expertise of Registered Dietitians. The Foundation's vision is "we all eat right." ADAF achieves its goals by providing support for research, education and public awareness programs.
ADA publishes position papers on public health regarding pediatric (children's) health, food technology
Food technology, is a branch of food science which deals with the actual production processes to make foods.-Early history of food technology:...
, food safety
Food safety is a scientific discipline describing handling, preparation, and storage of food in ways that prevent foodborne illness. This includes a number of routines that should be followed to avoid potentially severe health hazards....
Geriatrics is a sub-specialty of internal medicine and family medicine that focuses on health care of elderly people. It aims to promote health by preventing and treating diseases and disabilities in older adults. There is no set age at which patients may be under the care of a geriatrician, or...
(elderly) health, health-care reform
Health policy can be defined as the "decisions, plans, and actions that are undertaken to achieve specific health care goals within a society." According to the World Health Organization, an explicit health policy can achieve several things: it defines a vision for the future; it outlines...
Obesity is a medical condition in which excess body fat has accumulated to the extent that it may have an adverse effect on health, leading to reduced life expectancy and/or increased health problems...
and the full range of food and nutrition topics. The association also sponsors National Nutrition Month in March in the U.S. To help better communications with the US government, ADA has offices in Washington, DC.
Kids Eat Right
ADA and the ADA Foundation launched their first joint initiative, Kids Eat Right, in November 2010. This member-driven campaign is dedicated to supporting the efforts of the White House to end the childhood obesity epidemic within a generation. Kids Eat Right is a two-tiered campaign aimed to mobilize ADA members to participate in community and school childhood obesity prevention efforts, and also to educate families, communities, and policy makers about the importance of quality nutrition.
Controversy Concerning the ADA
The ADA receives some percentage (approximately 10% according to its most recent annual report) of its funding from food companies, including Abbott Nutrition, CoroWise, General Mills, Kellogg's, Mars, McNeil Nutritionals, Pepsico, SOYJOY, Truvia and Unilever. In addition, the ADA lists Aramark, The CocaCola Company, The National Dairy Council and the Hershey Center for Health and Nutrition as partners.
The ADA has claimed that these partnerships with food industry groups do not affect its diet recommendations:
"It’s important for ADA to be at the same table with food companies because of the positive influence that we can have on them. For ADA, relationships with outside organizations are not about promoting companies’ products; they are about creating nutrition messages that people can understand and act upon to improve their health and that of their families."
However, many people have criticized these partnerships. Marion Nestle
Marion Nestle, Ph.D., M.P.H., is the Paulette Goddard Professor of Nutrition, Food Studies, and Public Health at New York University, in the department that she chaired from 1988 through 2003. Her degrees include a Ph.D. in molecular biology and an M.P.H. in public health nutrition, both from the...
Professor of Nutrition, Food Studies, and Public Health at New York University, has written:
"Respected ADA colleagues: as long as your organization partners with makers of food and beverage products, its opinions about diet and health will never be believed independent (translation: based on science not politics) and neither will your's. Consider the ADA's Nutrition Fact Sheets, for example, each with its very own corporate sponsor (scroll down to the lower right hand corner of the second page to see who paid for the Facts). Is the goal of ADA really the same as the goal of the sponsors - to sell the sponsor's food products? Is this a good way to get important scientific messages to the public? ADA members: how about doing something about this!"
Sheldon Rampton and John Stauber of The Center for Media and Democracy (an independent, non-profit, non-partisan media and consumer watchdog group) claim the ADA "has learned not to bite the hand that feeds it"
Joan Gussow, a former head of the nutrition education
Nutrition Education is any combination of educational strategies, accompanied by environmental supports, designed to facilitate voluntary adoption of food choices and other food- and nutrition-related behaviors conducive to health and well-being...
program at Teachers College at Columbia University writes that "They (the ADA) never criticize the food industry"
The Weston A. Price Foundation avers that, “Registered Dietitians generally get a bad rap in the alternative medical and nutrition communities.” They suggest that dietitians are trained to promote and dispense processed foods, many of which are unhealthy.
The Journal of the American Dietetic Association (JADA)
is a monthly peer-reviewed publication involved in the dietetics field, with original research, critical reviews, and reports on dietetics and human nutrition.