November 1, 2018
A group of Registered Dietitians from the California Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics after meeting with Senator Diane Feinstein’s staff.
(Los Angeles)- On October 24th over 1,400 Registered Dietitian Nutritionists (RDNs) from across the country flocked to the capitol to talk to their members of Congress about why malnutrition is an important issue facing our nation and how RDNs are uniquely positioned to identify malnutrition and champion a patient’s nutritional needs. California had 47 nutrition professionals who traveled to Washington, D.C to meet with their legislators. For the first time the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics held their annual Public Policy Workshop immediately following the Food and Nutrition Conference and Expo (FNCE) which produced record numbers of attendees.
“Given the current political climate, RDNs are starting to recognize the importance of advocating for better food, nutrition and health care policies,” said Fatinah Darwish, Public Policy Coordinator from California Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. “We showed up to the Capitol in record numbers. California more than tripled their usual attendance which reflects our members’ dedication to advocate for a seat at the table when our nation’s leaders are making vital decisions about our health.”
The California members met with the staff of Sen. Kamala Harris and Sen. Diane Feinstein to discuss the important role RDNs play in identifying malnutrition and the Malnutrition Quality Improvement Initiative the Academy has developed in collaboration with Avalere Health. Nutrition interventions have demonstrated to not only be cost-effective but also improve health outcomes for malnourished patients. The American Health and Drug Benefits study illustrated this, with a savings of $3,900 per patient after implementing a nutrition-focused quality improvement program. Additionally, California members met with the staff from 25 Congressional Representatives to bring awareness of the Academy’s malnutrition message.
So, what is malnutrition and what is its impact? Malnutrition is a result of imbalanced food consumption or a lack of food. The perception of a malnourished person is often misconceived with a vision of someone who is very thin and underweight; however, malnutrition commonly affects people who are overweight or obese. This idea is called the ‘obesity paradox,’ when people consume too many calories but are lacking in proper nutrients. Malnutrition is a costly and often preventable problem which commonly goes undiagnosed.
RDNs can help solve the problem of malnutrition through standardizing nutrition screening, assessing, diagnosing and implementing nutrition plans of care. To learn more about how you can support RDNs and their agenda to address malnutrition visit: https://www.eatrightpro.org/practice/practice-resources/malnutrition
About the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics: The Academy is the world’s largest food and nutrition professional organization with over 100,000 members nationally. California has the largest representation with over 10,000 Registered Dietitian Nutritionists, Dietetic Technician Registered (DTRs), and student members. The Academy works towards improving health through nutrition while promoting the dietetics profession through advocacy, research, and education.
Katie Rawson, Dietetic Intern