About Guidelines, Positions and Statements

The Academy provides nutrition and dietetics practitioners with evidence-based information and guidance so they may deliver the highest-quality nutrition care to their patients and clients. To that end, the Academy develops several resources — including Evidence-Based Nutrition Practice Guidelines, position papers and consensus statements — to inform members of the latest research on specific topics in the field of nutrition and dietetics and to assist with implementing evidence-based principles into daily practice.

  • Systematic Review: A high-level process that collects and critically analyzes multiple research studies or papers on a clearly formulated question using explicit methods to identify, select and critically appraise the primary research. Systematic reviews are used to develop Evidence-Based Nutrition Practice Guidelines, position papers and consensus statements.
  • Evidence-Based Nutrition Practice Guideline: A series of recommendations based on systematic reviews of evidence and assessment of the benefits and harms of treatment options to improve patient or client care and outcomes. These guidelines are designed to assist the RDN/NDTR team, as well as other intended users including patients or clients. Developed through the Academy’s Evidence Analysis Library, Evidence-Based Nutrition Practice Guidelines are considered current for 5 years unless otherwise indicated. Evidence-Based Nutrition Practice Guidelines are published in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics and the Evidence Analysis Library website (until they are expired).
  • Position Paper: Includes a Position Statement and is based on systematic reviews with high, or at least moderate, quality evidence (Grade I or Grade II). Position papers are written on topics that are confusing and require clarification, are controversial or are important from a policy perspective. Position papers are published in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics and listed on eatrightPRO.org (until they are expired).
  • Consensus Statement: May be produced for topics that are controversial, confusing or require clarification but for which the strength of the quality of evidence from the systematic review is limited or weak (Grade III). Consensus statements are considered preliminary until further research is available to confirm or refute the available science. Consensus reports are published in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics and listed on eatrightPRO.org (until they are expired).

The process for developing these resources is as follows:

  1. A scoping review is conducted on the proposed topic to provide an overview of current literature and to assist in determining whether a systematic review is warranted.
  2. If the scoping review reveals a sufficient amount of scientific literature, a systematic review is conducted.
    • An Evidence-Based Nutrition Practice Guideline is developed if the proposed topic has multiple subtopics and requires guidance or formal recommendations for practitioners.
    • A position paper is developed if the proposed topic is controversial, confusing, important for policy or requires clarification and if the systematic review conclusion statement has high-quality evidence — Grade I or Grade II.
    • If the quality of evidence of the systematic review is Grade III or lower, a consensus statement is generated to inform practitioners (but not guide practice).

In addition to the above evidence-based resources, the Academy may issue policy stances (broad-based statements that may contain aspirational language with practice applications for policy or advocacy initiatives) or joint statement/positions (involves collaborating with another organization or external agency).