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Understanding Intersectionality’s Role in Nutrition Care and Education

Intersectionality is a social concept that should be prioritized in dietetic practice to increase equitable nutrition care and education access in the communities we serve.

What is Intersectionality?

Intersectionality (coined by lawyer and civil rights activist, Kimberlé Crenshaw) is the interconnectedness of social categorizations and how they overlap to create interdependent systems of discrimination, oppression, or disadvantage.

These social categorizations can include:

  • Age

  • Physical appearance

  • Race

  • Gender-identity

  • Sexual orientation

  • Disability

  • Culture

  • Religion

  • Socioeconomic status

  • Geographic location

  • Education

Intersectionality’s Role in Nutrition Care and Education

As a dietitian, you must recognize that certain individuals and communities you serve face multiple and intersecting forms of structural discrimination. This systemic inequity then contributes to differing health outcomes and difficulties accessing healthy food, clean water, spaces for physical activity, and even other public health necessities, like clean air.

Intersectionality highlights equity in nutrition care and education. Not only in ensuring all Iowans have access to these services, but that they are relevant to all intersecting identities as well -- from physical screenings to nutrition assessments, culturally-relevant nutrition recommendations, and beyond.

5 Strategies for Elevating Intersectionality in Your Practice

  1. Appreciate the unique struggles and forms of oppression that your patients and colleagues are experiencing

  2. Be inclusive by incorporating different perspectives into your practice

  3. Seek opportunities to collaborate with interdisciplinary teams and community members

  4. Build communities of allies committed to supporting equity in dietetics

  5. Advocate for the integration of intersectionality into dietetic education and nutrition care

Helpful Intersectionality Resources and Studies for Nutrition Professionals

Written by: Allie Lansman (she/her), Iowa Academy Liaison



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