Position of the American Dietetic Association: Food and Nutrition Misinformation
Journal of the American Dietetic Association, 106:4 (April), 601-607, 2006
24 Pages Posted: 29 Jan 2016
Date Written: August 14, 2005
It is the position of the American Dietetic Association that food and nutrition misinformation can have harmful effects on the health and economic status of consumers. It is the role of nationally credentialed dietetics professionals to advocate for and promote sound, science-based nutrition information to the public, function as primary nutrition educators to health professionals, and actively counter and correct food and nutrition misinformation.
In recent years, enormous advances have been made in the science of food and nutrition, leading to a fine-tuning of many recommendations about eating healthfully. Consumers have become increasingly aware of the nutrition-health link, increasingly responsible for changing their own diets, and increasingly reliant on nutrition information to do so. Unfortunately, these same conditions also create opportunities for nutrition misinformation to flourish. News reports rarely provide enough context for consumers to interpret the advice given, and preliminary or idiosyncratic findings often attract unmerited and misleading attention.
Effective nutrition communication must be consumer-focused and presented with sufficient context to allow consumers to weigh the information and determine whether it applies to his or her unique needs. Consistent with its vision that members “are the leading source of food and nutrition services,” the American Dietetic Association (ADA) recognizes its responsibility to help consumers identify food and nutrition misinformation in the following ways: ADA members need to be leaders in providing consumers with sound, science-based nutrition information and helping them to recognize and avoid misinformation. ADA members need to be primary resources of sound nutrition information for the media and to inform the media when misinformation is presented, as the electronic and print media are primary sources of nutrition information for consumers. ADA, the world’s largest organization of food and nutrition professionals, must continue to work diligently with other healthcare practitioners, educators, policy makers, and the food and dietary supplement industry to responsibly address the medical and psychological, physiological, and economic effects of food- and nutrition-related misinformation on consumers.
Keywords: misinformation, nutrition, American Dietetic Association
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