Consumer Protection Recognition of the Registered and Licensed Dietitian as the Nutrition Expert

  • A top public policy priority for the Texas Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics is the strengthening of the Licensed Dietitians Act as a true “practice act” in Texas to recognize the Registered and Licensed Dietitian as the “nutrition expert,” modeling the national Institute of Medicine’s stance: “the registered dietitian is the single most identifiable group with standards of education, clinical training, continuing education and national credentialing requirements necessary to be directly reimbursed as the provider of medical nutrition therapy.”
  • In order to protect and promote the public health and safety, only those persons who have been formally educated, trained and tested in the commonly-accepted scientific principles by an accredited program of nutrition should be authorized to engage in the practice of dietetics.
  • The Texas Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics supports public policy which continues to protect the public through the following efforts:
    • To educate the public regarding sound nutrition practices and qualified practitioners
    • To maintain and strengthen the professional practices of dietitians and the Licensed Dietitian Act

Obesity and Related Chronic Conditions

  • TAND seeks to strengthen public and private efforts to address the epidemic of obesity and related chronic diseases such as diabetes and cardiovascular disease by promoting an expanded role for RDN/LDs in the nutrition counseling and education components of various community and public health programs, such as Medicaid and Children’s Health Insurance Programs
  • As an affiliate of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, TAND supports national legislative efforts in this arena including policy that allows RDN/LDs to be reimbursed for Medical Nutrition Therapy (MNT) regarding obesity and pre-diabetes as we are the qualified nutrition professional needed to serve these patients/clients.

Public Health/Prevention

  • TAND is an official member of the Texas Health Coalition along with 35 other health professional organizations dedicated to disease prevention and health promotion by advancing effective public policies to promote a safe and healthy environment and behaviors for Texans
  • TAND provides subject matter expertise and supports specific positions to the Texas Health Coalition that are in line with the goals of the Texas Academy

Health Care Cost Containment Medial Nutrition Therapy

  • Medical Nutrition Therapy (MNT) plays an important role in lessening both severity and duration of illness, and is defined as the use of specific nutrition services to treat illness, injury or health conditions.
  • MNT saves health care costs by speeding recovery and reducing the incidence of complications, which lead to fewer or shorter hospitalizations and reduced drug, surgery and medical intervention.
  • Every dollar spent on Medical Nutrition Therapy saves a minimum of $3.25 in future health care costs.
  • The Texas Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics supports public policies which provide for nutrition assessment, nutrition counseling and Medical Nutrition Therapy for those persons with conditions or diseases that in some cases can be prevented, treated or controlled with nutrition therapy when provided by the Registered and Licensed Dietitian, especially in the ambulatory care, home health and public health settings.

Support Health Promotion and Disease Prevention through Child Nutrition

  • TAND seeks to respond to the childhood obesity epidemic and to improve child nutritional health generally through an array of legislative initiatives, which includes strengthening and improving the nutrition standards governing all foods made available to children in Texas schools. This includes but is not limited to the national school meal and snack programs, community-based school health, physical education, and nutrition education programs. TAND emphasizes efforts to provide financial and other incentives to schools and school authorities that promote a healthy nutrition environment of their schoolchildren.
  • Because it has been demonstrated that consumption of a healthy breakfast increases test scores; reduces absenteeism and dropout rates; reduces illness; aids in obesity prevention; and improves overall child health, TAND seeks to expand the School Breakfast Program to permit every school to offer a free breakfast to every child, and thereby remove the primary obstacle to expanded student participation in the program – the stigma now attached to students who currently participate as being from financially distressed families.

Older Texans

  • Screening for possible drug/nutrient interactions and education of the elderly in appropriate nutrition practices are essential to promoting extended independent living and a high quality of life.
  • The Texas Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics supports public policies that promote nutrition screening and education opportunities, and which provide Medical Nutrition Therapy for older Texans in home health programs and long-term care facilities.

Additional Opportunities

  • TAND will prepare as the year goes forward for additional opportunities, both to support action items that align with our own legislative agenda (such as efforts to curb childhood obesity) and to oppose legislation that contradicts TAND’s legislative efforts