Legislative Affairs > State Laws

DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA (WASHINGTON, D.C.)

The District of Columbia (Washington, D.C.) is an Exclusive Scope of Practice district. The law requires a license to practice nutrition and dietetics, and only dietitians may obtain a license. Unless a person holds a license to practice dietetics or nutrition, a person shall not use or imply the use of the words or terms “dietitian/nutritionist,” “licensed dietitian,” “licensed nutritionist,” “dietitian,” “nutritionist,” “L.D.N.,” “L.D.,” “L.N.,” or any similar title or description of services with the intent to represent that the person practices dietetics or nutrition.

The law defines the practice of nutrition as:

“(6)(A) “Practice of dietetics and nutrition” means the application of scientific principles and food management techniques to assess the dietary or nutritional needs of individuals and groups, make recommendations for short-term and long-term dietary or nutritional practices which foster good health, provide diet or nutrition counseling, and develop and manage nutritionally sound dietary plans and nutrition care systems consistent with the available resources of the patient or client.

(B) Nothing in this paragraph shall be construed as preventing or restricting the practices, services, or activities of dietetic technicians and dietetic assistants working under the supervision of a licensed dietitian or nutritionist, other health professionals licensed pursuant to this chapter, or other persons who in the course of their responsibilities offer dietary or nutrition information or deal with nutritional policies or practices on an occasional basis incidental to their primary duties, provided that they do not represent by title or description of services that they are dietitians or nutritionists.”

EXEMPTIONS:

The law in Washington, D.C. is very restrictive, and exemptions would require that a holistic nutrition professional work under the supervision of a licensed dietitian or nutritionist, or other health professionals who are licensed within their profession. A caveat in the law states “other persons who in the course of their responsibilities offer dietary or nutrition, information or deal with nutritional policies or practices on an occasional basis incidental to their primary duties, provided that they do not represent by title or description of services that they are dietitians or nutritionists.”

NANP urges practitioners to use extreme caution if practicing in the District of Columbia, and work under a licensed professional.

Source: § 3-1201.02 of the District of Columbia Official Code, Subsections 6(A) and 6(B).

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