What Is the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics?

Erin Coleman, R.D., L.D.
nutritionist

An organization designed for food and nutrition professionals, the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics helps professionals improve nutrition services (and nutritional statuses in communities). It's the world's largest of its kind, with over 100,000 credentialed professionals as members.

History

The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics was founded in Cleveland, Ohio in 1917 by a group of women seeking to improve public health and nutrition during World War 1. At that time, it was founded as the American Dietetic Association. In 2012, the organization changed its name from the American Dietetic Association to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics to better complement the organization's focus of improving nutritional well-being within communities.

Purpose/Mission

The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics serves many purposes. The organization's mission is to accelerate improvements in well-being and global health through nutrition and food. Its vision is to create a world where people thrive with the power of nutrition and healthy food choices. The academy provides nutrition professionals an opportunity to receive continuing education and professional development, collaborate with other professionals to solve food and nutrition challenges, and have a global impact on reducing malnutrition.

Membership

Members of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics include nutrition professionals (registered dietetics technicians and registered dietitian nutritionists), nutrition degree holders, nutrition students, interns, associate professionals, retired nutrition professionals, and international nutrition professionals. Members help shape public food choices and treat patients by offering medical nutrition therapy and other food and nutrition-based services. These professionals may work in the food service industry, home health care, hospitals, nursing homes, outpatient settings, research and development, educational settings, weight loss centers, low-income nutrition services, or preventative medicine.

Membership Requirements

Different types of memberships (with varying requirements) are available to choose from within the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. Becoming an active member means you must have the credential of registered dietitian nutritionist or registered nutrition and dietetics technician, or you've completed an accredited dietetics education program or advanced degree in nutrition.

A student membership is for students enrolled in (or intend to enroll in) approved dietetics education programs. International memberships are designed for professionals who've completed (or are completing) formal food and nutrition training outside of the U.S. Associate memberships are for professionals in fields (such as culinary arts or exercise science) related to nutrition, and retired memberships are for professionals who've retired from the field of nutrition and are at least 62 years old (membership rates are reduced in this case).

Getting Credentialed

The Commission on Dietetic Registration is the credentialling agency for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. This organization allows you to search for credentialed professionals and receive information about how to become a credentialed nutrition professional (a registered dietitian nutritionist or registered nutrition and dietetics technician).

Annual Food and Nutrition Conference

The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics hosts a food and nutrition conference and expo annually for all nutrition professionals and students to attend and receive continuing education credits. This conference allows professionals to network and stay abreast of new research and updated standards of nutrition care practices. Being a member of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics allows you to the opportunity for early registration and cost savings if you plan to attend this annual food and nutrition conference.

Member Perks

As a nutrition professional, you'll reap a variety of rewards when becoming a member of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. You'll receive access to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics journal and a subscription to Food and Nutrition magazine. You'll get a discount on professional books, manuals and other publications and receive continuing education credits (some of which are offered by the academy for free). Access to career job postings is yet another member advantage. So is the ability to network, receive scholarships, and ask for advice from staff registered dietitian nutritionists.

Other Resources

The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics provides additional resources for nutrition professionals and community members. Nutritionists and dietitians can purchase professional books, such as nutrition care manuals and pocket nutrition assessment guides, through the organization's website. The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics general website provides nutrition information for members of the public and includes information about healthy eating guidelines, healthy recipe ideas, childhood nutrition, food allergies, special diets, workout tips, and many other health, and nutrition-related topics.

Past Controversies

While the mission of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics is to improve the health and nutrition in communities and worldwide, the organization has undergone criticism. Today's Dietitian says the Academy has taken heat for accepting sponsorships from large food companies, including those that produce processed (not-so-healthy) foods. While sponsorships may imply endorsements for some people, Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics president Ethan Bergman told Today's Dietitian the Academy doesn't endorse products, services or companies.

Why Join?

If you're working in (or want to join) the field of nutrition and dietetics, joining the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics offers a variety of benefits. It'll help you stay connected with other professionals, keep up to date with changing nutrition guidelines, sign up for continuing education credits, and receive savings off of nutrition materials you purchase. If you're looking for sound nutrition information, then the organization's Eat Right website is an excellent resource of well-researched information.

What Is the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics?