While the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics currently has three premier sponsors (PepsiCo, The National Dairy Council, and Abbott Laboratories), it’s also important to look at food industry ties it has in other areas.
The Academy’s Foundation, for instance, partners with General Mills for the Champions for Healthy Kids Grants Program. AND’s Foundation page describes General Mills as a company “committed to nourishing lives through health and wellness.”
Then there is the Energy Balance 4 Kids program, a partnership between AND’s Foundation and the Healthy Weight Commitment Foundation.
Per the organization’s website, the Healthy Weight Commitment Foundation, “a CEO-led organization, is a national, multi-year effort designed to help reduce obesity–especially childhood obesity. The Healthy Weight Commitment Foundation (HWCF) promotes ways to help people achieve a healthy weight through energy balance–calories in and calories out. It focuses its efforts on two critical areas—families and schools.”
When health is only discussed through a lens of weight, it is easy for the food industry to consider itself part of the dutiful troops, whether it’s with “commitments to physical activity” or reduced-calorie, highly processed foods.
Corporate members include ConAgra, General Mills, Kellogg’s, Coca-Cola, PepsiCo, Nestlé, and Unilever.
AND’s food industry ties are deeply rooted and ubiquitous. We believe health organizations should leverage their positions to continually challenge the food industry to do better, rather than co-sign on industry-crafted messaging.
As you may recall, it was AND’s Foundation that partnered with Kraft to have the Kids Eat Right Foundation seal on packages of Kraft Singles, a decision that was abruptly reversed three weeks after it was announced due to unprecedented backlash from dietitians.