Action Alert: Nutritionists Need Your Help

November 29, 2011 · 10 comments

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Nutrition Certifications By now, you may have heard about the Dietitian Licensing bill that has been proposed in New York(S.3556/A.5666).  This is a very dangerous piece of legislation that may easily be voted in, because most legislators do not realize the full impact of the bill. It is being introduced in many states other than New York as the American Dietetic Association is trying to take over all nutrition certifications and all aspects of nutritional counseling including experts with master’s degrees and doctorates. Read about the ADA’s monopoly crusade here.

 

At first glance this seems a great opportunity for many nutritionists to become licensed. However in order for the existing nutritionist to get this license, they would have to complete a dietician program (that teaches conventional dietetics) in order to practice nutritional therapy. Nutritionists and registered dieticians have completely different philosophical approaches to nutrition therapy, and they should be recognized as such.

Let’s not forget the ADA has corporate sponsors such as Coca-Cola, PepsiCo, General Mills, Kellogg (makers of really nutritious sugary cereals) as well as Mars (candy maker) and Unilever, a multinational corporation that owns many of the world’s consumer product brands.These companies have consistently shown that their interest is in marketing products without regard for nutritional content. Need I say more about where the ADA is coming from?

Below is a sample letter with talking points that would respectfully address some of the many issues around this legislation. Please feel free to copy it and send it to all your legislators. Share it with friends and family. Take it to your local representatives and educate them about the effects of this legislation. We need action from everyone!

VOTE NO on NEW YORK S.3556-2011 (A. 5666)
New York Senator______________________Fax#__________________________
New York Assembly member_________________Fax:______________________

I am writing to voice my strongest opposition and I respectfully urge you to VOTE NO on S.3556-2011, a seriously restrictive Dietitian/Nutritionist licensing bill that is proposing to create a new title for dietitians and nutritionists–“Licensed Dietitian/Nutritionist” or “LDN.

S.3556 creates a restrictive licensure law (protected title to protected scope of practice). This change would criminalize non-licensed practitioners creating significant economic loss due to the severe and unnecessary scope of practice restrictions of the proposed bill. Highly trained professionals including but not limited to chiropractors, naturopathic doctors, nurse practitioners, physicians assistants, certified nutrition specialists, certified clinical nutritionists, and health coaches would effectively be prohibited from providing nutrition-related counseling.

S. 3556 removes competition in the field of healthcare services, dampens freedom of choice in healthcare, creates a hostile environment for the creation of new business in the state, and threatens to increase chronic health indicators among New York citizens.

S. 3556 Creates an Unfair Board. The new bill states that there will be 4 RDs and 3 CNs although there is no justifiable rational for changing to an unbalanced board. This imbalance may provide preferential advantages to dietitians to becoming LDNs.

S. 3556 fails to recognize the differences between nutritionists and dietitians. Nutritionists practice an integrative approach to medicine and concentrate on prevention and treatment of chronic disease. They have comprehensive knowledge of the impact nutrition has on all body systems; they focus on medical nutrition therapy, metabolism, and biochemistry; and they work primarily in private practice settings.

Dietitians, on the other hand, are experts in nutrition science with training focusing on acute care dietary needs, institutional diets and food systems management — developing diets for hospital patients, school food service programs, and nursing homes. Dietitians work primarily in institutional settings. Nutritionists and dietitians uphold different philosophical and practical approaches and fulfill distinct roles within our healthcare system. These distinct but equally important roles should be recognized as such in any restrictive bill for the field of nutrition via requirements that are attainable as an expert nutritionist or dietitian.

S. 3556 makes the requirements for the LDN synonymous to those for a dietitian but not a nutritionist. Given the proposed dietetic-centric requirements, the current bill would effectively eliminate an entire profession and contribute to a strain on our already struggling economy. The training and expertise of Nutritionists and dietitians are unique and address distinct needs within our healthcare system, criminalizing the practice of one group would cripple our healthcare system in its ability to provide appropriate nutrition therapy for both acute and chronic conditions. Ironically, many nutritionists have Masters and PhD degrees, and most dieticians do not; however the proposed bill would penalizes a higher standard of education and training due to biased requirements.

S.3556 would jeopardize all of the entrepreneurial nutrition based businesses. Instead of providing “protection” for consumers, passage of this bill would protect dietitians from competition and arbitrarily limit access to nutrition information, nutritional products, and limit the range of expert professionals currently in practice across NYS.

To defeat these bills our best bet is to block them in committee before they reach the Assembly and Senate floors. Here is the contact information for the committees in both the Assembly and Senate soon to vote. Please contact your representatives in these committees and speak to them about the impact of the upcoming legislation. If we don’t educate them about what is really going on here, the American Dietetic Association (PepsiCo, Coke, General Mills, etc.) will.

Here is the Higher Education committee in the Senate.

Here is the Finance committee in the Senate.

To find your New York Senator’s telephone number, click here.
Additionally there will be an important meeting this Friday, December 2 in New York City:

IAACN President, Fred Pescatore, MD, MPH, CCN will be presenting to the NY State Board.

Everyone needs to attend this meeting to represent the New York CCNs.

DATE: Friday. December 2, 2011

TIME: Meeting begins at 10AM. Be there at 9:30.

NYS Office of Professional Discipline and Legal Services

1411 Broadway

10th floor

New York, NY  10018

NOTE: The building is on the west side of Broadway, between 39th and 40th streets

Photo Credit: Dr. Liz Lipski

Not shown here are the many health care practitioners who have additional training and include nutrition in their patient/client care such as: Chiropractors, Nurses, Pharmacists, Mental Health Professionals, Acupuncturists, and Naturopathic Practitioners.

 

Resource Information:

Differences between Registered Dieticians and Clinical Nutritionists: Here and here.

This post is shared at: Real Food Wednesday, Sustainable Ways, Day 2Day, Gluten-Free Wednesday, Mommy Club, What’s Cooking Wednesday, These Chicks Cooked, Simple Lives Thursday, Creative Juice Thursday, Fresh Bites Friday, Freaky Friday, Fight Back Friday, Sunday School, Sugar-Free Sunday, Monday Mania, Barnyard Hop, Real Food 101, Tasty Tuesday Naptime, Hearth & Soul Hop, Heatth & Soul Hop, Traditional Tuesday, Traditional Tuesday

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