Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, American Speech-Language-Hearing Association Support New Global Standardization of Diets for Swallowing Disorders

January 31, 2017

The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics and the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association together announce their support of a new global initiative to standardize diets for the treatment of people who suffer from swallowing disorders.

The International Dysphagia Diet Standardization Initiative created global standardized terminology and definitions for texture-modified foods and thickened liquids to improve the safety and care for individuals with dysphagia, a swallowing disorder, which affects an estimated 560 million people worldwide.

"The Academy, our members and multidisciplinary colleagues look forward to collaboratively working to implement this important new framework to help Americans suffering from swallowing disorders," said registered dietitian nutritionist and the Academy's 2016-2017 President Lucille Beseler, MS, RDN, LDN, CDE, FAND.

"The standardization framework represents a tremendous step forward in collaborating in the care of people with swallowing disorders," said 2017 ASHA President Gail J. Richard, PhD, CCC-SLP. "With ASHA members on the front lines of treating these patients every day, we support tools that help us improve quality of care."

Dysphagia can occur at any time throughout a person's life. The most common causes are related to underlying medical or physical conditions. In severe cases, this dysphagia can lead to life-threatening chest infection, pneumonia, malnutrition or dehydration.

One of the most common ways of managing dysphagia is the provision of texture-modified foods and thickened liquids. These modified foods and drinks are provided to help reduce the risk of choking or having material entering the lungs airway and may be commonly referred to as a dysphagia diet.

The Academy's Evidence Based Practice Committee reviewed IDDSI's 2015 article, "The Influence of Food Texture and Liquid Consistency Modification on Swallowing Physiology and Function: A Systematic Review, Dysphagia" and determined the methodology is sound. Based on this and other reviews, Academy leaders in October 2016 voted to support the adoption of IDDSI.

ASHA supported IDDSI's multidisciplinary effort to gather information from clinicians around the world that led to the IDDSI framework and methods for standardizing both food and drink, and its Board of Directors passed a resolution in 2016 to support the IDDSI Framework.

IDDSI is leading the implementation of this program in 21 countries throughout the world.

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All registered dietitians are nutritionists – but not all nutritionists are registered dietitians. The Academy's Board of Directors and Commission on Dietetic Registration have determined that those who hold the credential registered dietitian may optionally use "registered dietitian nutritionist" instead. The two credentials have identical meanings.

The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics is the world's largest organization of food and nutrition professionals. The Academy is committed to improving the nation’s health and advancing the profession of dietetics through research, education and advocacy. Visit the Academy at eatright.org.

The American Speech-Language Hearing Association is the national professional, scientific and credentialing association for 186,000 members and affiliates who are audiologists; speech-language pathologists; speech, language and hearing scientists; audiology and speech-language pathology support personnel; and students. Audiologists specialize in preventing and assessing hearing and balance disorders as well as providing audiologic treatment, including hearing aids. Speech-language pathologists identify, assess and treat speech and language problems, including swallowing disorders.