Thursday, April 26, 2012

I was Almost a Scofflaw

You've probably heard about the blogger Diabetes Warrior, a type 1 diabetic who's in hot water with the state of North Carolina for talking up the paleo diet that has restored his health. Officially, he's in trouble for giving medical advice, but come on: what are the chances he'd be in trouble if he had recommended a low-fat diet and healthy whole grains?

There but for the good sense of the Colorado legislature go I.

A few month ago, Rep. Massey introduced a bill to require licensing of dietitians, and defined dietetics as 

THE INTEGRATION, APPLICATION, AND COMMUNICATION OF PRINCIPLES DERIVED FROM FOOD, NUTRITION, SOCIAL, BUSINESS, AND BASIC SCIENCES, TO ACHIEVE AND MAINTAIN OPTIMAL NUTRITION STATUS OF INDIVIDUALS THROUGH THE DEVELOPMENT, PROVISION, AND MANAGEMENT OF EFFECTIVE FOOD AND NUTRITION SERVICES IN A VARIETY OF SETTINGS.

Sounds like what goes on here and on a lot of other blogs. The bill continued,

A PERSON WHO WISHES TO PRACTICE DIETETICS IN THIS STATE SHALL APPLY TO THE BOARD, BY A DATE AND IN A FORM AND MANNER DETERMINED BY THE BOARD BY RULE, FOR A LICENSE AND SHALL PAY THE FEE DETERMINED BY THE BOARD. THE APPLICANT SHALL CERTIFY AND FURNISH EVIDENCE SATISFACTORY TO THE BOARD THAT THE APPLICANT MEETS ALL OF THE FOLLOWING CONDITIONS:
(I) IS AT LEAST TWENTY-ONE YEARS OF AGE;
(II) IS OF GOOD MORAL CHARACTER;
(III) HAS RECEIVED A BACCALAUREATE OR POST-BACCALAUREATE DEGREE WITH A MAJOR COURSE OF STUDY IN HUMAN NUTRITION,NUTRITION EDUCATION, PUBLIC HEALTH NUTRITION, FOOD AND NUTRITION, DIETETICS, OR FOOD SYSTEMS MANAGEMENT OR AN EQUIVALENT MAJOR COURSE OF STUDY AS APPROVED BY THE BOARD. AN APPLICANT WHO OBTAINED HIS OR HER EDUCATION OUTSIDE THE UNITED STATES AND ITS TERRITORIES MUST HAVE THE APPLICANT'S ACADEMIC DEGREE VALIDATED BY THE COMMISSION AS EQUIVALENT TO THE BACCALAUREATE OR POST-BACCALAUREATE DEGREE CONFERRED BY A REGIONALLY ACCREDITED COLLEGE OR UNIVERSITY IN THE UNITED STATES.
(IV) HAS COMPLETED A DOCUMENTED, SUPERVISED, PRE-PROFESSIONAL PRACTICE EXPERIENCE COMPONENT IN DIETETICS OF NOT LESS THAN ONE THOUSAND TWO HUNDRED HOURS UNDER THE SUPERVISION OF A REGISTERED DIETITIAN, A LICENSED DIETITIAN, OR AN INDIVIDUAL WITH A DOCTORAL DEGREE WITH A MAJOR COURSE OF STUDY IN HUMAN NUTRITION, NUTRITION EDUCATION, FOOD AND NUTRITION, DIETETICS, OR FOOD SYSTEMS MANAGEMENT. SUPERVISED PRACTICE EXPERIENCE MUST BE COMPLETED IN THE UNITED STATES OR ITS TERRITORIES. A SUPERVISOR WHO OBTAINED A DOCTORAL DEGREE OUTSIDE THE UNITED STATES AND ITS TERRITORIES MUST HAVE THE DEGREE VALIDATED BY THE COMMISSION AS EQUIVALENT TO THE DOCTORAL DEGREE CONFERRED BY A UNITED STATES REGIONALLY ACCREDITED COLLEGE OR UNIVERSITY.
(V) HAS SUCCESSFULLY COMPLETED THE EXAMINATION FOR DIETITIANS ADMINISTERED BY THE COMMISSION.
Even most MDs couldn't recommend a diet under this bill. I wonder if vets would be allowed to tell their clients to stop feeding their dogs muffins. The bill was, after all, before the House Committee on Agriculture, Livestock and Natural Resources.There are some exemptions, but blogs about foods relieving allergies, improving lipids, eliminating GERD, and so on have to do with the medical benefits of diet.

Despite several dietitians (who else?) talking up the bill, it failed in a 9-3 vote. Otherwise, I'd be in contact with the Institute for Justice, a nonprofit "merry band of litigators" that takes on nonsense laws that chill free speech and drive honest people out of business.

3 comments:

tess said...

have you read Robb Wolf's post of yesterday, in which he makes some great points on this subject? ... here's to all us scofflaws! :-) (what a great word!)

Lori Miller said...

Thanks for the tip, Tess. I agree with most of what he says, but if it comes down to it, court battles will be necessary to maintain the right to free speech. Without that right, with LC and paleo blogs, podcasts and videos taken down, scholarships won't do any good, and may not even be feasible.

Aptly enough, the word "scofflaw" comes from the Prohibition Era.

tess said...

yeah, it was the "standing up as a group" and fighting back part i was referring to.... i think some civil-libertarian lawyers would lick their chops over this, especially when the ADA et al ARE NOT SUPPORTED BY THE SCIENCE. (that part always gets to me....)