Letter to the editor of the Chetek Alert
By Karen R. Hurd, Nutritionist, Fall Creek, WI
Nutritionist Disagrees with Dietician Marla Prytz
First, I must applaud Anita Zimmerman for bringing the issue of health freedom to the public. The introduction of SB115 in the Wisconsin Senate removes the right of consumers to choose whom they would like to consult reference nutritional advice. It clearly is a bill that is designed to fence out nutritional care providers that are not registered dieticians, all under the guise of “protecting the consumer.”
Mary Prytz wrote in her letter to the editor on April 22, 2009, “The bill is about providing consumers with confidence that nutrition therapy is provided by qualified professionals and backed by science.” I ask, who are the qualified professionals? Only registered dieticians? There are many qualified professionals that are not registered dieticians who are educated and backed by science. Is there only one way to practice healing? Are there not people that are well-educated that might differ in their approach to healing and be effective without bringing harm to the patient?
There are. In fact, thousands of these people. In the state of Wisconsin alone there are over 600 nutritional care providers that are non-registered dieticians who serve the public by guiding them in how to use nutrition as a healing tool.
The worn-out accusation flung back by the proponents of this bill is that people are harmed by this unlicensed advice. Where are these people that have been harmed? To date, there is not one case that the advocates of SB115 have brought to the fore to substantiate this claim. On the converse, in my practice, I can report many cases where the client has sought help from the registered dietician and the advice received was ineffectual, causing the patient to seek someone besides a registered dietician who could help them with their situation.
Isn’t this what free enterprise is about? If one person doesn’t have a product (in this case knowledge) to help a situation, the consumer must be free to seek someone who does have knowledge that they would like to access.
Ms. Prytz mentioned that the public “deserved the ability to easily access evidence-based care.” I certainly agree with this statement. The public is not stupid. They will seek care from those who are having results. If registered dieticians are the only ones having results, then the registered dieticians do not need to fear competition. The public will seek them out. If registered dieticians are not having success in their recommendations to heal, the public will seek out others who do have success. This is what is considered evidence-based. Legislating that only registered dieticians can give out nutritional counsel would squash evidence-based care, not encourage it.
To protect the health freedom of Wisconsin residents, I would encourage everyone to call or write their senator or representative to ask them to oppose the Dietary Licensure Bill SB115. To locate contact information for your senator/representative go to www.legis.state.wi.us or call the legislative hotline (800) 362-9472.