American Dietetic Association

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The American Dietetic Association (ADA) is a national association of registered dietitians. According to it's website, ADA was founded in 1917 and is the world's largest organization of food and nutrition professionals. [1]


ADA conducts and promotes nutrition research, education and advocacy. Approximately 75 % of ADA's nearly 70,000 members are registered dietitians (RDs) and 4% are dietetic technicians, registered (DTRs). Other members include consultants, educators, researchers and students. Nearly half of all ADA members hold advanced academic degrees. Members represent areas and interests such as affiliate and dietetics practice; professional education; public information on nutrition and health; government advocacy and relations; membership recruitment, ADA leadership and public relations. [2]

Position on vegan/vegetarian diets

According to the ADA:

"Appropriately planned vegetarian diets, including total vegetarian or vegan diets, are healthful, nutritionally adequate, and may provide health benefits in the prevention and treatment of certain diseases. Well-planned vegetarian diets are appropriate for individuals during all stages of the life cycle, including pregnancy, lactation, infancy, childhood, and adolescence, and for athletes. A vegetarian diet is defined as one that does not include meat (including fowl) or seafood, or products containing those foods. This article reviews the current data related to key nutrients for vegetarians including protein, n-3 fatty acids, iron, zinc, iodine, calcium, and vitamins D and B-12. A vegetarian diet can meet current recommendations for all of these nutrients. In some cases, supplements or fortified foods can provide useful amounts of important nutrients. An evidence-based review showed that vegetarian diets can be nutritionally adequate in pregnancy and result in positive maternal and infant health outcomes. The results of an evidence-based review showed that a vegetarian diet is associated with a lower risk of death from ischemic heart disease. Vegetarians also appear to have lower low-density lipoprotein cholesterol levels, lower blood pressure, and lower rates of hypertension and type 2 diabetes than nonvegetarians. Furthermore, vegetarians tend to have a lower body mass index and lower overall cancer rates. Features of a vegetarian diet that may reduce risk of chronic disease include lower intakes of saturated fat and cholesterol and higher intakes of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts, soy products, fiber, and phytochemicals. The variability of dietary practices among vegetarians makes individual assessment of dietary adequacy essential. In addition to assessing dietary adequacy, food and nutrition professionals can also play key roles in educating vegetarians about sources of specific nutrients, food purchase and preparation, and dietary modifications to meet their needs." [3]

See also meat & dairy industry, sections 4 & 5 & section 6 on animal products & health issues.


According to a 2000 article in PR Watch by Sheldon Rampton and John Stauber, the ADA "works closely with the International Food Information Council (IFIC) and hauls in large sums of money advocating for the food industry." Furthermore "it has learned not to bite the hand that feeds it." 15% of its budget (over $3 million) comes from food companies and trade groups, according to the article. According to Joan Gussow, a former head of the nutrition education program at Teachers College at Columbia University, "They never criticize the food industry."

ADA's website contains 'fact sheets' on various food products sponsored by their manufacturers. Some companies have included Monsanto (biotechnology); Procter & Gamble (Olestra); Ajinomoto (MSG) and the National Association of Margarine Manufacturers (fats and oils). [4]

On another note, a clear recommendation of the health benefits of a vegan/vegetarian diet has been taken as severe criticism by the meat & dairy industry and its various lobby groups and front groups. Such advocacy has been the catalyst for aggressive, negative campaigns by such groups as the Center for Consumer Freedom.


  • Judith C. Rodriguez, PhD, RD, LDN, FADA - President
  • Sylvia Escott-Stump, MA, RD, LDN - President Elect
  • Glenna McCollum, PhD, MPH, RD - Speaker of the House
  • Patricia M. Babjak - CEO

According to its website:

"(The) ADA is led by a Board of Directors comprised of national leaders in nutrition and health. The dietetics profession is governed by a 98-member elected House of Delegates."

See also Current Board of Directors & ADA Organizational Chart [5]


ADA headquarters
120 South Riverside Plaza, Suite 2000
Chicago, Illinois 60606-6995

Phone: 800/877-1600

ADA Washington office
1120 Connecticut Avenue N.W., Suite 480
Washington, D.C. 20036

Phone: 202/775-8277

ADA public relations

800/877-1600, ext. 4802, 4769 or 4806

Web address:

Articles & sources

SourceWatch articles


  1. Who We Are and What We Do, American Dietetic Association, assessed December 2010
  2. Who We Are and What We Do, ADA, assessed December 2010
  3. Vegetarian Diets, ADA, Volume 109, Issue 7, Pages 1266-1282, July 2009
  4. Sheldon Rampton, John Stauber Who Is the Dairy Coalition?", PR Watch, 4th Quarter 2000
  5. Leadership, ADA, accessed December 2010