The corporate capture of the nutrition profession in the USA: the case of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics

Angela Carriedo, Ilana Pinsky, Eric Crosbie, Gary Ruskin, Melissa Mialon

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Citations (SciVal)

Abstract

Objective: The involvement of unhealthy commodity corporations in health policy and research has been identified as an important commercial determinant contributing to the rise of non-communicable diseases. In the USA, health professional associations have been subject to corporate influence. This study explores the interactions between corporations and the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (AND), and their implications for the profession in the USA and globally. Design: We conducted an inductive analysis of documents (2014-2020) obtained through freedom of information requests, to assess key AND actors' dealings with food, pharmaceutical and agribusiness corporations. We also triangulated this information with publicly available data. Setting: The USA. Participants: Not applicable. Results: The AND, AND Foundation (ANDF) and its key leaders have ongoing interactions with corporations. These include AND's leaders holding key positions in multinational food, pharmaceutical or agribusiness corporations, and AND accepting corporate financial contributions. We found the AND has invested funds in corporations such as Nestlé, PepsiCo and pharmaceutical companies, has discussed internal policies to fit industry needs and has had public positions favouring corporations. Conclusion: The documents reveal a symbiotic relationship between the AND, its Foundation and corporations. Corporations assist the AND and ANDF with financial contributions. AND acts as a pro-industry voice in some policy venues, and with public positions that clash with AND's mission to improve health globally.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3568-3582
Number of pages15
JournalPublic Health Nutrition
Volume25
Issue number12
Early online date24 Oct 2022
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 24 Dec 2022
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The AND certifies US professionals and develops content for continuing professional education as a ‘requirement for’ certification and ‘to build’ knowledge and advance nutritionists’ careers. Also, the AND provides a toolkit for individual or organisational members to build their own workshops with continuing professional education credits. Some of the topics of such continuing professional education resources were sponsored or aligned to industry’s interests. For example, ‘Whole Grain Product: Menuing and Getting Kids to Like Them’ was sponsored by General Mills (DM email, 12th June 2015). The ‘Certificate of Training in Childhood and Adolescent Weight Management’ and ‘Changing the Way We Look at Agriculture’ were supported by the National Dairy Council. ()

Funding Information:
Acknowledgements: The authors are grateful to Kate Tasker and Rachel Takata of the UCSF Industry Documents Library for archival support and assistance and to Dr. Cristin Kearns for substantive input on this research. Financial support: The work was supported by Arnold Foundation. The funders had no role in design, conduct, collection, management, analysis and interpretation of the data or in the preparation, review or approval of the manuscript. Authorship: G.R. contributed to data collection, I.P., A.C., E.C. M.M. contributed with analysis and interpretation. A.C., I.P. drafted the manuscript and all authors contributed to revision for important intellectual content. Ethics of human subject participation: N/A.

Keywords

  • Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics
  • Corporate influence
  • Health policy
  • Nutrition profession

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Nutrition and Dietetics
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health

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