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Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics

Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics
Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics logo.jpg
Formation 1917
Legal status Foundation
Purpose Nutrition
Headquarters Chicago, IL, U.S.
Region served
United States
Main organ
Board of Delegates

The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics is the United States' largest organization of food and nutrition professionals, and represents over 100,000 credentialed practitioners — registered dietitian nutritionists, dietetic technicians, registered, and other dietetics professionals holding undergraduate and advanced degrees in nutrition and dietetics. After nearly 100 years as the American Dietetic Association, the organization officially changed its name to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics in 2012. The organization’s members are primarily registered dietitian nutritionists (RDNs) and nutrition and dietetic technicians, registered (NDTR) as well as many researchers, educators, students, nurses, physicians, pharmacists, clinical and community dietetics professionals, consultants and food service managers.

The Academy has faced controversy regarding corporate influence related to its relationship with the food industry and funding from corporate groups such as McDonald’s, Coca-Cola, Mars, and others.

The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics was founded in 1917 in Cleveland, Ohio, by a group of women led by Lenna F. Cooper and the Academy's first president, Lulu G. Graves, who were dedicated to helping the government conserve food and improve public health during World War I. It is now headquartered in Chicago, Illinois.

The original mission of the Academy was in part to help make maximal use of America's food resources during wartime. In its first year, the Academy attracted 58 members. It remained a small organization, remaining under the 1,000 member mark until the 1930s. As the group's scope expanded, so did its membership numbers. Between the 1930s and 1960s, membership skyrocketed to more than 60,000. Growth trajectory has since stabilized, and the Academy marked its 70,000th member when a female dietitian in Texas rejoined the Academy in May 2009. Since its founding in 1917, the Academy has gained members in every decade.

An authorized seal for the organization was adopted by the Executive Board and presented to members on October 24, 1940. At its center are symbols of the three main characteristics of the profession: a balance scale, representing science as the foundation and symbolizing equality; a caduceus, representing the close relationship between dietetics and medicine; and a cooking vessel, representing cookery and food preparation. Around the main design is a shaft of wheat, representing bread, the staff of life, and stylized acanthus leaves, representing growth and life. Over the design is a cornucopia, representing an abundant food supply. Beneath the design is the motto, Quam Plurimis Prodesse ("To benefit as many as possible"). Around the edge is the name of the organization and the date of its founding written in Roman numerals.

  • The Academy "maintains that the only way to lose weight is through a healthy, well-balanced diet and exercise."
  • The Academy’s stated position is that “there are no good or bad foods, only good and bad diets.” According to the Academy such labeling or “bumpers” confuse the public.
  • The Academy states that "exclusive breastfeeding provides optimal nutrition and health protection for the first 6 months of life and breastfeeding with complementary foods from 6 months until at least 12 months of age is the ideal feeding pattern for infants."
  • The Academy "believes that up to two servings of soy per day for adults could be part of a healthy diet."
  • The Academy has stated that a "well planned vegan diet" (no meat, dairy or animal products) is appropriate and healthy for babies.
  • The Academy states that to combat the obesity epidemic, adults and children need access to healthy foods, education on eating well, and preventative health services, including counseling by registered dietitian nutritionists. They support the White House and Michelle Obama’s efforts to end the childhood obesity epidemic within a generation.
  • The Academy opposed mandated labeling of "trans fats" on food packaging.
  • The Academy has given low ratings to the high-protein, low-carb diet known as the Atkins Diet, insisting that the diet is "unhealthy and the weight loss is temporary." The Academy maintains that carbohydrates are not responsible for weight gain any more than other forms of calories.
  • The Academy states that children who eat breakfast have better concentration, problem-solving skills, and eye hand coordination. Children who do not eat breakfast are tired at school and eat more junk food.
  • Earning a bachelor's degree with course work approved by the Academys’s Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics (ACEND). Coursework typically includes food and nutrition sciences, foodservice systems management, business, economics, computer science, sociology, biochemistry, physiology, microbiology and chemistry.
  • Completing an accredited, supervised practice program at a health-care facility, community agency or foodservice corporation.
  • Passing a national examination administered by the Commission on Dietetic Registration.
  • Completing continuing professional educational requirements to maintain registration.
  • In addition to the costs of the college coursework, the Academy charges a $200 application fee for registered dietitians.
  • Students must complete a 1,200 hour internship to sit for the Registered Dietitian exam.
  • A minimum of an Associate's degree.
  • At least 450 hours of supervised practice accredited by ACEND.
  • Successful pass a national DTR examination administered by CDR.
  • Complete continuing professional educational requirements to maintain registration.


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