The Story of the American Nutrition Association®

Our Why

The ANA envisions a society of Healthy People, Powered by Nutrition. We bring that vision to life through our mission to Champion the Science and Practice of Personalized Nutrition.

Six foundational values guide the work of the ANA:

  • Nutrition is a Science There is a rich and evolving body of science illuminating nutrition’s impact on our health.
  • Nutrition is Medicine Nutrition is the core of our health and can prevent and reverse disease.
  • Nutrition is Personal Because our biology is unique, personalized nutrition most powerfully taps our health potential.
  • Nutrition is Healthcare Nutrition belongs in the core of our healthcare culture and system, and all health professionals should be equipped and empowered to integrate nutrition into their work.
  • Nutrition is an Ecosystem Nutrition is an ecosystem of food growers and providers, scientists, academics, healthcare professionals, policymakers, philanthropists, corporations and more.
  • Nutrition is for Everyone Every person deserves access to healthy food and unbiased, science-based nutrition knowledge.


Our guidestar is our long-term Vision for humanity. Our roadmap to get there is our Mission. And the principles that drive everything we stand for and do are our Values.

Our History

The history of the American Nutrition Association® (ANA®) began on April 14, 1959, with the birth of the American College of Nutrition® (ACN). Five esteemed physicians – Sam William Kalb, MD, Robert Peterman, MD, Theodore Heineken, MD, Abraham Friedman, MD, Harvey Einhorn, MD, and Jacob Goodhart, MD – founded the ACN with a vision:

To coordinate clinical and experimental work in the field of nutrition; to conduct, sponsor and assist in research studies, texts and experiments in the field of nutrition and to make known the practical application of all recent progress therein by appropriate publications, clinical meetings and convocations...and….To formulate plans and to provide a code of ethics, practices and principles relating to the specialty of clinical nutrition and the practice thereof.

The ACN pioneered the fusion of nutrition and medical science to advance human health. In recent years, the ACN helped anchor a consortium of leading nutrition organizations with rich histories:

Nutrition for Optimal Health Association℠

In 1972, a group of pioneering mothers, physicians, and scientists established the Nutrition for Optimal Health Association, to bring the latest science-based nutrition information directly to the public.

Board for Certification of Nutrition Specialists℠

In 1993, the Board for Certification of Nutrition Specialists (BCNS) was launched, which as a separate and independent organization administers the advanced certification for personalized nutrition practitioners: the Certified Nutrition Specialist (CNS).

Center for Nutrition Advocacy®

In 2013, the Center for Nutrition Advocacy (CNA) was launched to advocate for state and federal policy that advances practice and insurance reimbursement rights for nutrition practitioners.

Accreditation Council for Nutrition Professional Education℠

Founded in 2015, the Accreditation Council for Nutrition Professional Education (ACNPE) is a separate and independent non-profit corporation formed to accredit master’s degree clinical programs in nutrition. ACNPE’s rigorous educational requirements and demanding accreditation process enhance the quality of student learning and establish a high standard for the knowledge and skills needed to practice personalized nutrition safely and effectively.

The leaders of these organizations made a historic decision to affiliate as a family of organizations, in order to unleash nutrition’s potential to reverse the chronic disease and obesity crisis. Collectively, we are now named the American Nutrition Association® (ANA®). 

What is Personalized Nutrition?

At the inception of the ACN in 1959, the discipline was called “clinical nutrition.” Now, the science and practice has evolved the discipline into “personalized nutrition,” a multidisciplinary field that leverage science and data, professional education and training, and clinical guidance and therapeutics to prevent manage and treat disease and optimize health.

Personalized nutrition is tailored for YOU, based on your health history, health goals, lab tests, and even genetic tests. It’s nutrition based on your unique biology, not broad recommendations or the latest health fads. Personalized nutrition can take the guesswork out of healthy eating. Personalized nutrition holds tremendous potential to improve your health and prevent and even reverse obesity and chronic diseases such as cardiovascular disease, osteoporosis, and diabetes by addressing their root causes. There is now a vast body of science underscoring the impact of nutrition and its role as one of the most powerful determinants of our health.

Personalized nutrition is a field that leverages human individuality to drive nutrition strategies that prevent, manage, and treat disease and optimize health…