This may not seem particularly nourishing, but taking a stand and being bold in our convictions is completely nourishing… Early this week, the New York Times posted an article about the new Kids Eat Right emblem on Kraft Singles (here it is). Although the Academy of Nutrition & Dietetics has issued a statement reiterating the fact that this emblem indicates that Kraft supports Kids Eat Right (and not that the Academy endorses Kraft Singles as a healthy choice). Unfortunately, the damage has been done, dietitians and the health community are crying foul. Along with other dietitians in my circles, I was pissed (intentional strong-ish language). What the Academy doesn’t seem to get is that public & health professionals’ perception is reality, not their intention. I wasn’t planning on writing about this because so many other RD bloggers already gave their 2 cents, and I didn’t think I had anything to add to it. After having my life contemplation time while showering (true story), I’ve gathered my thoughts & have a new point to make about the whole fiasco!
I honestly kinda feel like I’m reprimanding my wise grandmother here, but when she goes ahead and makes a decision that will affect my whole family without any sort of input (but she really wouldn’t), you just gotta do what you gotta do.
I get it, we all need money to keep the research, resources, and publicity going. For myself, as a dietitian, I’ve put many years into my education and practice to be worthy of being a part of this great group founded on research and experience, I feel it is my duty to uphold the standards of the organization & to keep the good name (of a dietitian) that many have worked so hard to obtain. I could make money by endorsing (excuse me, by talking) about products or ideologies I do not follow or internally endorse. But I DON’T. We’ve all worked too hard to get here, and selling ourselves for that isn’t worth it-to me at least. Unfortunately, the Academy has misstepped and, regardless of intent, has “endorsed” fake cheese, that is enriched with calcium & Vitamin D (which is it’s only redeeming quality). I mean, are they going to “endorse” BigMac’s next because they have lettuce, onion, and tomato-which are all healthy?
The reality of this is that perception rules. In my behavior change classes we continually discuss the difference between intent & perception. If what we, as health educators, say comes off as rude to a client, it’s rude, doesn’t matter what our intent was. The purpose of communicating is to share a message with a certain audience, this emblem shares the message that Kraft Singles are healthy and that parents should buy them for their kids because “Kids Eat Right”. Is that really what the Academy & dietitians within the Academy want to communicate to the target audience?