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Unformatted text preview: Food and nutrition misinformation Abstract 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. The federal government has recognized the strong link between nutrition and health in recent years. Consumers are taking greater responsibility for self-care and are hungry for food and nutrition information, creating opportunities for nutrition misinformation, health fraud, and quackery to flourish. The media are consumers' leading source of nutrition information, but news reports rarely provide enough context for consumers to interpret the advice given. Promoters turn preliminary findings into sales pitches with baseless claims, often for the sole purpose of economic gain. Effective nutrition communication is 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. Nationally credentialed dietetics professionals are best prepared to communicate sound advice and scientific advances about nutrition. These dietetics professionals have a responsibility to take an active role in providing accurate, easily understood food and nutrition information, interpreting emerging research for media and consumers and encouraging consumers to look for credentialed dietetics professionals as nutrition experts. In recent years, the federal government and leading healthcare organizations have begun to acknowledge the link between nutrition and health. Enormous advances have been made in the science of food and nutrition, leading to a fine-tuning of many recommendations about eating healthfully. Despite these positive developments, misinformation about the role of nutrition in health abounds in our society, allowing nutrition-related misbeliefs, health fraud, and quackery to flourish. 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....
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