Public Policy Priorities
As the leading organization of food and nutrition professionals, the Academy is dedicated to advancing policy that has profound impact on the health and well-being of the public. The Academy's public policy priorities work cohesively to empower individuals with evidence-based nutrition information and services, supporting healthier lifestyles, reducing the burden of chronic diseases, and ultimately enhancing the health and lives of the public. By influencing policy decisions at local, state and federal levels, the Academy plays a critical role in shaping a healthier and more equitable society for all.
We work with policy leaders at every level of government to promote health and reduce the burden of chronic disease through nutrition services and interventions. Policymakers who wish to connect with Academy Policy Initiatives and Advocacy staff are encouraged to contact us.
Well-Being and Prevention
Chronic diseases such as heart disease, stroke, cancer, diabetes and obesity are the leading causes of death and disability in the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Nutrition plays a critical role in the prevention of these chronic diseases. Registered dietitian nutritionists are uniquely qualified to prevent, treat and manage chronic disease. Nutrition and dietetic technicians, registered, are also an integral part of health care and food service management teams.
Academy members are committed to improving the health of all populations through effective nutrition policies and programs that eliminate health disparities. Health disparities exist when the differences in health outcomes are impacted by racial, ethnic, geographic or socioeconomic status. Through Academy members’ research, teaching and community outreach to provide nutrition services, the disparity margin can be narrowed in urban, suburban and rural areas.
The Academy recommends policies for disease prevention and treatment that:
- Support medical nutrition therapy as an effective disease management strategy that reduces risk of chronic disease, slows disease progression and reduces symptoms.
- Fund cost-effective nutrition interventions that focus on personal health practices to reduce the prevalence and severity of the leading chronic diseases in the United States.
- Support evidence-based prevention efforts for chronic diseases.
- Recognize the need for the comprehensive treatment of obesity, including behavioral counseling provided by qualified providers.
- Support expansion of and investment in nutrition research that will help reduce the national burden of diet-related chronic diseases.
Diversity and Inclusion
The Academy is committed to addressing health disparities experienced by communities of color. Health disparities exist when the differences in health outcomes are impacted by racial, ethnic, geographic or socioeconomic status. The Academy advocates for the support of and investment in policies and practices that acknowledge health disparities and design interventions to intentionally address them.
The most recent U.S. Census reports that racial and ethnic minorities make up approximately 40 percent of the population. As the nation becomes more diverse, health professionals are tasked with treating an increasing number of patients from different cultural backgrounds. It is not uncommon for language and other cultural barriers to exist, which may increase barriers to adequate care. Understanding the health disparities that exist and the social determinants that contribute to poorer health is needed to better address these patients and the community. In order to do so, there needs to be more data disaggregation among subgroups within a population as the status of a group as a whole can mask disparities within.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have reported that people from racial and ethnic minority groups are being hospitalized and dying from COVID-19 at much higher rates than whites. The Academy recognizes that it is essential to address the root causes of health inequity by examining the social determinants of health that play a role in the etiology and amplification of chronic health disparities. These root causes of health disparities must be addressed to achieve health equity. Specifically, the Academy is advocating for the following initiatives to address health inequity: invest in SNAP to address food security; expand access to Medical Nutrition Therapy and Intensive Behavioral Therapy; and increase diversity in allied health professions, including dietetics.
Nutrition Security and Food SafetyThe Academy recognizes that many of the populations we serve are at risk for food insecurity, foodborne and waterborne illnesses. Effective nutrition counseling and interventions help provide solutions to these issues. The Academy’s policy recommendations for healthy food systems and access include:
- Increase access to affordable, healthy foods and safe water in communities, places of work and schools.
- Decrease the access to and marketing of foods and drinks of low nutritional value, particularly to youth.
- Support efforts of the U.S. Department of Agriculture and U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to link healthy food to positive health outcomes.
- Connect individuals and families to federal nutrition programs that provide benefits to families and support local economies.
- Evaluate ways to increase access to healthy foods through SNAP.
- Support efforts to connect food, nutrition and sustainability of our food system including agriculture and food service employee health.
- Ensure all military families and veterans have the means and the access to provide healthy foods for their families.
- Ensure the safety and integrity of the water and food supply especially during emergencies.
Food Systems Supply and Management
Align agricultural policies with health policies.
Ensure the safety of the water supply.
Support the United States’ national food waste reduction goal.
Support efforts to implement the Food Safety Modernization Act, to provide a risk-based food safety system approach and focus on comprehensive science-based preventive measures across the total food safety system to reduce illness and death.
Support education empowering consumers to make informed, healthful choices using the revised Nutrition Facts Label.
Support the development and implementation of evidence-based, transparently crafted Dietary Guidelines for Americans by reviewing proposed research protocols, evaluating evidence reviews and making recommendations to inform the Scientific Report of the Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee.
Support and strengthen strong, comprehensive, culturally appropriate and well-coordinated government funded nutrition education programs (i.e. WIC, SNAP-Ed, EFNEP and Team Nutrition).
Nutrition Care and Health Systems
Nutrition services are an essential component of comprehensive high-quality health care throughout the lifecycle and must be patient-centered. Stable, sufficient and reliable funding is necessary for our health care system to provide access to crucial benefits. The Academy’s policy recommendations for quality health care include:
- Support nutrition informatics that demonstrate return on investment for nutrition services as the implementation of the electronic health record continues to expand.
- Advance federal, state and interstate policies facilitating the use of telehealth to provide nutrition care services, including to people living in rural and underserved areas.
- Protect consumers by ensuring that nutrition education, counseling and interventions are delivered by qualified and competent providers.
- Continue to support efforts that meet the health care needs of consumers, including a diverse health care workforce.
- Provide more job opportunities for qualified nutrition professionals.
- Advance the Academy-led malnutrition electronic clinical quality measures and their inclusion in the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services Inpatient Quality Reporting Program.
- Support lowering health care costs through the expansion of services provided by registered dietitian nutritionists for nutrition-related chronic diseases.
Join the Academy
Members of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics receive exciting benefits including complimentary continuing professional education opportunities, discounts on events and products in eatrightSTORE.org, invitations to exclusive members-only events and more!