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:
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
Appreciate the unique struggles and forms of oppression that your patients and colleagues are experiencing
Be inclusive by incorporating different perspectives into your practice
Seek opportunities to collaborate with interdisciplinary teams and community members
Build communities of allies committed to supporting equity in dietetics
Advocate for the integration of intersectionality into dietetic education and nutrition care
Helpful Intersectionality Resources and Studies for Nutrition Professionals
Intersectionality and Addressing Equity in Agriculture, Nutrition, and Health, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI)
A Call for the AND to Embrace Intersectinal Thinking, Planetary Health Collective (PHC)
Disparities in food insecurity at the intersection of race and sexual orientation: A population-based study of adult women in the United States
Written by: Allie Lansman (she/her), Iowa Academy Liaison