Practice Papers

A practice paper is a critical analysis of the current research literature that addresses a practice topic to translate science to practice. It provides registered dietitian nutritionists (RDNs) and dietetic technicians, registered (DTRs) with information to enhance critical reasoning and quality improvement in dietetics practice.

As of July 2015, practice papers are published in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. In addition, all practice papers continue to be available on the Academy's website. From August 2011 to July 2015 only practice paper abstracts were published in the Journal and the entire practice paper was published online.


Management of Food and Nutrition Systems

  • Principles of Productivity in Food and Nutrition Services (July 2015)
    Food and nutrition services, along with the health care organizations they serve, are becoming increasingly complex. As health care continues to change and new models of care are introduced, food and nutrition services managers will need to consider innovative approaches to improve productivity that are consistent with their individual health care organization’s vision and mission. Use of process improvement tools such as Lean and Six Sigma as strategies for evaluating and improving food and nutrition services efficiency should be considered.

    *This paper offers a free CPE opportunity for Academy members.

Health Promotion/Disease Prevention

  • Role of the Registered Dietitian Nutritionist in the Diagnosis and Management of Food Allergies (October 2016)
    The Role of the Registered Dietitian Nutritionist in the Diagnosis and Management of Food Allergies Practice Paper is published in the October 2016 Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. Incidence of food allergy has increased significantly over the past decade and represents an important health issue for millions of Americans. Accurate diagnosis is crucial to avoid unnecessary dietary restriction, especially in children. The purpose of this paper is to provide guidance to the RDN and NDTR on appropriate and evidence-based nutrition counseling for diagnosis and management of food allergies.

    *This paper offers a free CPE opportunity for Academy members.

  • Nutrient Density: Selecting Nutrient-Dense Foods for Good Health (September 2016)
    The 2015 Dietary Guidelines for Americans encourage selection of nutrient-dense foods for health promotion and disease prevention and management. The purpose of this Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics practice paper is to provide an update regarding the science and practice of nutrient-dense food identification and selection. Characterization of tools used to identify nutrient density of foods is provided and recommendations for how registered dietitian nutritionists and nutrition and dietetics technicians, registered might use available profiling tools to help consumers select nutrient-dense foods is discussed.

    *This paper offers a free CPE opportunity for Academy members.

  • The Role of Nutrition in Health Promotion and Chronic Disease Prevention (July 2013)
    Food intake, lifestyle behaviors, and obesity are linked to the development of chronic diseases such as type 2 diabetes, certain cancers, and cardiovascular diseases. Certain life cycle phases appear to be especially important for health promotion and disease prevention as the development of chronic diseases can take several decades. This practice paper supports the position paper of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics: The Role of Nutrition in Health Promotion and Disease Prevention. In concordance with the Academy's position, this practice paper provides an overview of practice examples, effective program components, and a comprehensive range of health promotion and chronic disease prevention strategies for RDs and DTRs.

    *This paper offers a free CPE opportunity for Academy members.

Medical Nutrition Therapy

  • Classic and Modified Ketogenic Diets for Treatment of Epilepsy (August 2017)
    Ketogenic diet therapy is an established form of treatment for both pediatric and adult patients with intractable epilepsy. Ketogenic diet is a term that refers to any diet therapy in which dietary composition would be expected to result in a ketogenic state of human metabolism. Registered Dietitian Nutritionists are often the first line and the most influential team member when it comes to treating those on KD therapy. This paper offers the RDN insight into the history of KD therapy, an overview of the various diets, a brief review of the literature with regards to efficacy, provides basic guidelines for practical implementation, coordination of care across multiple healthcare and community settings, and describes the role of the RDN in achieving successful KD therapy.

    *This paper offers a free CPE opportunity for Academy members.

  • Critical Thinking Skills in Nutrition Assessment (November 2013)
    Nutrition assessment is an essential component of the Nutrition Care Process and Model (NCPM), as it is the initial step in developing a comprehensive evaluation of the client's nutrition history. A comprehensive nutrition assessment requires the ability to observe, interpret, analyze and infer data to diagnose nutrition problems. This practice paper provides insight into the process by which critical thinking skills are utilized by both registered dietitian nutritionists (RDNs) and dietetic technicians, registered (DTRs).

  • Ethical and Legal Issues in Feeding and Hydration (June 2013)
    Registered dietitians should work collaboratively as part of an interprofessional team to make recommendations of providing, withdrawing or withholding nutrition and hydration in individual cases and serve as active members of institutional ethics committees. This paper provides a proactive, integrated, systematic process to implement the Academy's position. This practice paper supports the Academy position paper on the same topic published in the June 2013 Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.

Nutrition Through the Lifecycle

  • Nutrition and Lifestyle for a Health Pregnancy Outcome (July 2014)
    This new practice paper was published on the Academy website July 2014 and the abstract is published in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics July 2014. This paper supports the Academy's position paper with the same title, published in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics July 2014. Components leading to healthy pregnancy outcome include healthy pre-pregnancy weight, appropriate weight gain and physical activity during pregnancy, consumption of a wide variety of foods, appropriate vitamin and mineral supplementation, avoidance of alcohol and other harmful substances, and safe food handling. Using the 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans, registered dietitian nutritionists and dietetics technicians, registered, can help pregnant women select a food plan based on age, physical activity, trimester, weight gain and other considerations.

  • Promoting and Supporting Breastfeeding (March 2015)
    This paper supports the Academy's position paper with the same title, published in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics March 2015. Breastfeeding is an important public health strategy for improving infant and child morbidity and mortality, improving maternal morbidity, and helping to control health care costs. This practice paper was created to provide registered dietitian nutritionists (RDNs) and nutrition and dietetics technicians, registered (NDTRs) with guidelines and resources to promote and support breastfeeding. The position and practice papers should be used together to address the important contribution breastfeeding makes to the health of women, children, and infants and the future of our nation.

    *This paper offers a free CPE opportunity for Academy members.

Management of Sustainable, Resilient and Healthy Food and Water Systems

  • Promoting Ecological Sustainability within the Food System (March 2013)
    Registered dietitians (RDs) and dietetic technicians, registered, (DTRs) can implement environmentally-responsible practices in their workplace and personal lives. RDs and DTRs who conserve natural resources while minimizing environmental degradation will help maintain sustainability of the food system, which requires knowledge of the external costs of operational and personal decisions. In an effort to promote ecologically-sustainable diets, it is important to consider natural resources as they relate to food production, transformation, distribution, access and consumption.

Professionalism and Practice

  • Social Media and the Dietetics Practitioner: Opportunities, Challenges and Best Practices (November 2016)
    The potential role of social media in the profession is far reaching, yet there are important guidelines to follow related to ethics and professionalism. When using social media, nutrition and dietetics practitioners must remember that they are governed by the same Code of Ethics that guides all other aspects of practice. In today's digital age, it is essential for nutrition and dietetics practitioners to recognize the professional opportunities and challenges of social media. This Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics practice paper is to provide guidance on social media's relevance, potential applications, best practices, benefits and risks.

    *This paper offers a free CPE opportunity for Academy members.