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Compassion, Collaboration Key in Treating Patients with Overweight, Obesity: Updated Position Paper of Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics

January 23, 2023

CHICAGO – As obesity rates continue to rise in adults across the nation, registered dietitian nutritionists are encouraged to collaborate with their clients to create treatment plans that align with their desires, lifestyle and values to help them meet their health goals, according to a new paper published by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.
The paper, “Position of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics: Medical Nutrition Therapy Behavioral Interventions Provided by Dietitians for Adults with Overweight and Obesity,” notes that RDNs are uniquely qualified to provide medical nutrition therapy that is inclusive, compassionate and client-centered.

The paper, which was recently published in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, states:

It is the position of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics that medical nutrition therapy (MNT) behavioral interventions for adults (18 years and older) with overweight or obesity should be a treatment option, when appropriate and desired by the client, to improve cardiometabolic, quality of life, and anthropometric outcomes. Registered dietitian nutritionists or international equivalents (dietitians) providing MNT recognize the complex contributors to overweight and obesity, and thus individualize interventions, based upon a shared decision-making process, and deliver interventions in an inclusive, compassionate, and client-centered manner. Interventions should include collaboration with an interprofessional team when needed. Dietitians strive to increase health equity and reduce health disparities by advocating and providing opportunities for increased access to effective nutrition care services.

The new paper updates the Academy’s 2015 position on this issue and is supported by a science-based systematic review and evidence-based practice guideline.

The authors wrote, “Competencies crucial to effective obesity care include understanding the key drivers of obesity as a medical condition, recognizing the disparate burden of obesity on underrepresented populations, providing evidence-based care, collaborating interprofessionally to comprehensively address client needs and mitigating weight bias.”

The authors note, “Clients who use medications or weight loss surgery should collaborate with RDNs to improve and maintain a healthy diet that meets nutritional needs and advances weight loss efforts to improve cardiometabolic outcomes.”

To find an RDN near you, visit the Academy’s Find a Nutrition Expert directory.


Representing more than 112,000 credentialed nutrition and dietetics practitioners, the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics is the world’s largest organization of food and nutrition professionals. The Academy is committed to improving health and advancing the profession of dietetics through research, education and advocacy. Visit the Academy at

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