By Michelle Wolff
The National Association of Nutritional Professionals (NANP) is a non-profit business league that represents and advocates for holistically trained food and nutrition professionals. It was originally established under a different name, the Society of Certified Nutritionists (SCN) in 1985 which stemmed from the National Institute for Nutrition Education (NINE). Over the next fifteen years, SCN acquired many different nutritional professionals and begin to diversify their members. In 2002, during a conference at Berkley, the members decided they needed a name that better represented all the various titles of the SCN members and ultimately decided on the National Association of Nutritional Professionals. The vision of the members of NANP is to create a future where individuals choose food as their medicine. The current members of NANP are nutrition professionals that work in various work settings and strive to spread their knowledge of food and holistic nutrition. They work as independent consultants and alongside other practitioners, such as MDs, DOs, NPs, RNs, Chiropractors, Acupuncturists and more. Some of the important guidelines their members live by are to “improve the nutritional wellbeing of the client and the community” and to “guard the public and themselves against any nutritional counselor deficient in moral character or professional competence.”
The NANP’s mission is to “advocate for and empower a flourishing community of professionals dedicated to the principles of holistic nutrition.”¹ One of their greatest accomplishments to date is developing two credentials that nutrition professionals can obtain to further ensure they have the proper skills and training to guide clients in the right direction. The first option is to become board certified in Holistic Nutrition by taking an exam created by the NANP. To sit for this exam one must have a certification or degree from an approved holistic nutrition program and have at least 500 hours of professional experience in the field. The second option is to become a Certified Nutrition Professional. To obtain this title one must meet the requirements for the board exam, as well as have a bachelor’s degree or higher in nutrition from an approved university. Obtaining these certifications will give one more credibility, assurance, and validation when consulting clients. In addition to the board exam, NANP offers many continuing education programs. They offer continuing education units (CEU’s) through a variety of options including taking online courses, attending events, or even writing for their newsletter, Nutrition Bytes. Professional members of the organization are required to complete 10 CEU’s annually to renew their membership, and can easily do this through NANP.
The NANP holds an annual conference where holistic nutrition professionals from all over the world get together to learn more about the advancements in the field. The conference offers comprehensive educational training and is great place for professionals to network. The conference is split into twelve breakout sessions that include topics such as new information regarding functional genomics, the future of the industry and various disease specific protocols. Students are also welcome to attend the conference and have the opportunity to earn a scholarship towards it. The scholarship is called the Bonnie Fisk-Hayden scholarship and is offered annually for the conference. Current students who are members of the NANP are eligible to apply and three will be chosen to receive the scholarship for the conference which covers all the conference fees.
Today, the NANP continues to play a major role in implementing and advocating holistic nutrition principles. With their two exceptional accreditations as well as their diverse selection of CEUs, they are already doing a great deal in helping nutrition professionals reach their goals. With a growing number of memberships, it’s likely to see holistic nutrition expand throughout the next couple years and start to play a bigger role in nutrition practices.
References: National Association for Nutrition Professionals Website. http://www.nanp.org/. Accessed February 5th, 2017.