Are RD-only exclusionary licensure laws in the interests of Public Health?
The AND claims they are promoting these laws to “protect public health.” Exclusive healthcare licensure is typically sought by practitioners who are the financial beneficiaries, not the public. Every exclusionary nutrition licensing bill has been pushed at the behest of the AND leadership. The public is adamantly opposed to RD-only nutrition licensure. In Colorado in 2012, there were approximately 3,000 comments in favor of RD-only licensure, and 19,000 opposed.
Preventing care providers in a given field from practicing is helpful when the likelihood of bodily harm to individuals as a result of that care outweighs the benefits of increasing the number and diversity of care providers. We have never been presented with evidence of widespread physical harm from nutrition advisers providing care within the scope of their training. Unlike medicine, which deals in controlled substances such as pharmaceuticals and inherently dangerous activities, such as surgery, nutrition counseling involves advice about products that are legally available to everyone on their own: food and nutrients. Regulation has a role, but it should have be applied in a way that optimizes the health of our society, not the interests of one subset of providers.