The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics Statement on Global Famine is Too Little Too Late

On November 15, 2023, 2.4 million Palestinians in the Gaza Strip were being actively denied food and water for 28 days as a form of collective punishment deployed by the Israeli Occupation Forces. According to Oxfam International, only 2% of the usual food delivered to Gaza in entering the strip. Thousands are facing death by starvation at this very moment. “Starvation is being used as a weapon of war.”

This was in November.

It is now April 11th and the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics has finally decided to release a very vague and general statement on global famine. In their [undated] statement, they mention Palestine once: “According to the United Nations’ recent Hunger Hotspots Report spanning November 2023 to April 2024, Burkina Faso and Mali, South Sudan, the Sudan and most recently Palestine are identified as areas of utmost concern”.

This statement comes as a result of months of pressure campaigns including a petition with near 2,000 signatures from DIETITIANS AND PUBLIC HEALTH PROFESSIONALS AGAINST COLLECTIVE STARVATION AND PUNISHMENT, multiple social media and email campaigns to the Academy from dietitians, and most recently an email campaign targeting politicians, the AMA, and the Academy by The Human Dignity Project.

The Academy remained silent on the use of collective starvation as a weapon of war for over 180 days. This is despite, the Academy’s:

  • Mission: A world where all people thrive through the transformative power of food and nutrition
  • Vision:  Accelerate improvements in global health and well-being through food and nutrition
  • Principles:
    • Position registered dietitian nutritionists as the experts in food and nutrition
    • Collaborate with key stakeholders to solve the greatest food and nutrition challenges, now and in the future
    • Have a global impact in eliminating all forms of malnutrition

Palestinians in Gaza make up 80% of the global population that is currently experiencing famine. They should not be an afterthought. Palestinians in Gaza need to be front and center in the conversation, especially considering they are being starved by the US-backed Israeli regime.

This letter does not absolve the Academy. This letter is intentionally vague and does not align with the Academy’s mission, vision, or principles. We demand more. We demand better. The Academy should be calling for an immediate ceasefire to eliminate starvation and malnutrition. They should be the leader in educating the public on the harms of intentionally starving an entire population. There should be public conversations initiated and led by the Academy.

Instead, there is radio silence and vague statements.

The Academy is not the only nutrition organization who have kept quiet. Diversify Dietetics, a newer organization dedicated to empowering nutrition leaders of color, has not said anything. Weight Inclusive Nutrition and Dietetics has chosen silence despite founder Heather Caplan signing the above mentioned petition and members asking for more from the organization.

I invite the Academy and other nutrition organizations to stand firm against collective starvation. I invite them to conversation with Palestinians in our community and healthcare workers on the front lines. I invite them to publicly and unequivocally condemn the use of starvation as collective punishment and as a weapon of war.

It is important to give credit where credit is due and to recognize the Association for Size Diversity and Health (ASDAH) who signed the above petition on 11/21/23 as an organization.


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About me

Dua genuinely believes that our relationship with food should not be complicated. She likes to focus on eating in moderation and listening to your body but this, of course, will be different from person to person and body to body.



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