Today’s statement of concern comes from Chelsey Lindahl, RD, CD (Twitter handle: @CWYMO):
“Like most registered dietitians, I have both a strong personal and professional interest in nutrition. As a Wellness Dietitian I am blessed with many opportunities to share my passion, including the ability to help people achieve improved health through plant-based diets and educate my community. I believe firmly that in order to be successful in my career I must lead by example and live by the same science and nutritional values that I share with clients. It is for this reason that I fervently support Dietitians for Professional Integrity
I was attune to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics’ (AND) corporate ties and sponsorships for the past several years. However, I didn’t witness it until attending FNCE (the annual conference) for the first time in 2012.
As an attendee, I strongly felt that the majority of the poster sessions and lectures were skewed toward major financial sponsors (Big Food) and not science-based nutrition education for professionals. The expo floor was even more obviously skewed with corporations like PepsiCo, McDonald’s, and ConAgra Foods (just to name a few) boasting large and highly visible booths.
Although I had been very excited to attend, FNCE was not at all what I had hoped and I left questioning if AND was an organization I still wanted to be a part of. According to its mission statement, AND works to improve “the nation’s health and advancing the profession of dietetics through research, education and advocacy”. I did not get a sense of this at FNCE. If I take the time and care to practice what I preach as an RD, shouldn’t my professional organization do the same?
While I understand that corporate sponsorship is a necessity on some level, it is time to stand for what we believe and reevaluate the consequences these corporate sponsorships have on our credential and profession. We cannot, as a credible organization, successfully improve the health of our communities while partnering with companies that do not support functional health. I believe strongly in the efforts of Dietitians for Professional Integrity and feel honored to be part of this movement.”