From the Association| Volume 110, ISSUE 1, P124-133, January 2010

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Author Guidelines

        Submit to the Journal at See “HOW TO SUBMIT A MANUSCRIPT” section for details.
        The Journal of the American Dietetic Association is the official research publication of the American Dietetic Association. Its purpose, expressed in its mission statement, is to be “the premier peer-reviewed journal in the field of food, nutrition, and dietetics” and to embody the mission of the American Dietetic Association. The Journal publishes manuscripts that advance knowledge across a wide range of research and practice issues in nutrition and dietetics and that support the professional growth of Association members. Evidence-based contributions of original research, focused reviews, and research in such areas as diet and nutritional science, nutrigenomics, medical nutrition therapy, translational research, dietetics practice, public health nutrition and epidemiology, biostatistical applications in nutrition research, food science and biotechnology, foodservice systems, leadership and management in food and nutrition venues, and medical nutrition and dietetics education are welcome. International contributions on global topics of nutrition interest are also welcome, providing there is relevance to the largely US readership and findings are placed within that context.

        Article Categories

        Peer-Reviewed Manuscripts

        The Journal accepts manuscripts in nine peer-reviewed categories that comprise what is regarded as the “Research Well.” Non–peer-reviewed material is not included in this section. The Journal does not publish: market research studies; studies that lack testable hypotheses, nonvalidated scientific methods; literature reviews or other sections from theses or dissertations; pilot studies with very small sample sizes that do not conform to scientific design; or pseudoscience that lacks scientific rigor, has no control group, or generally offers random findings. No papers are published without Institutional Review Board approval or note of exemption.
        Structural requirements of each category are discussed in the section “MANUSCRIPT PREPARATION.” Word counts specified for each manuscript category do not include the abstract (when required), tables/figures, and references. Peer-reviewed categories include:

        Original Research

        The Journal welcomes original research and prioritizes publication of randomized controlled trials, intervention studies, cohort studies, case-control studies, epidemiologic assessments, other population-based observational studies with large sample sizes, validated surveys with high response rates, cost-effectiveness analyses and decision analyses, and studies of screening and diagnostic tests. Studies are expected to utilize validated nutritional and dietary assessment methods as appropriate. Thorough description of study designs, data collection methods, analyses, power calculations, and relevant hypotheses are expected (see “COMPONENTS OF A RESEARCH MANUSCRIPT: DETAILED OVERVIEW” section). Manuscripts reporting original research are high priority and should include: (1) structured abstract; (2) introduction stating the purpose and relevance of the study and the testable hypotheses underlying the study design; (3) clear and full description of materials and methods, including criteria for participant selection, referenced validated measurement instruments and quality control measures and summary details of statistical methods; (4) report of results for clarity, this should follow the same order presented in “methods”; (5) discussion (for greatest value, results should be compared with other published data of a similar nature using current literature), a paragraph describing the limitations of the study is also expected; (6) conclusions and applications (how the study applies to practice); (7) current and all relevant references; and (8) tables/figures with clearly written titles, headings, and footnotes that permit full interpretation without accompanying text. Original Research manuscripts, in general, should range between 2,500 and 4,000 words, but are typically about 3,500 words. Figures and tables should be limited to those most pertinent to the study without duplicating findings in the text.


        The Journal typically publishes at least one review paper per issue and welcomes comprehensive, quantitative reviews on specific nutrition topics with public health, clinical, management, or educational relevance. Review articles should address topics with an extensive body of literature to provide a critical summary of the current evidence and applications. Literature reviews from some masters' theses or doctoral dissertations may be converted, with careful attention to Author Guidelines, to meet Journal standards. In some cases, review articles may also address an emerging topic with limited literature to better demonstrate the need for more research, but if the focus is on a clinical practice issue, this might better be presented as a Research and Practice Innovations article. Review papers should include: (1) unstructured abstract; (2) introduction and purpose; (3) body, which develops the subject in logical order using appropriate subheads; (4) conclusions that specify the needs for further research; (5) detailed and comprehensive list of references; and (6) tables/figures as relevant. Meta-analysis is also highly encouraged. Review articles seldom exceed 4,500 words. Systematic review tables may be published online.

        Qualitative Research

        Research that addresses reasons for various aspects of nutrition-related behaviors or attitudes, hypothesis or theory generation, or cultural description is suitable for submission as qualitative research. Unlike quantitative studies that rely on a priori hypothesis testing, qualitative research categorizes words, sounds, or pictures captured as transcripts, audiotapes, videotapes, etc, into patterns as the primary basis for organizing and reporting results. Authors are encouraged to seek further guidance by reviewing the article on qualitative research in the January 2009 issue of the Journal (J Am Diet Assoc. 2009;109:80-90) and referring to the appropriate sections under “COMPONENTS OF A RESEARCH MANUSCRIPT: DETAILED OVERVIEW” within these guidelines dealing with survey research methodology.
        All submissions are subject to the same rigorous peer-review process and standards as quantitative submissions; however, hypothesis-generated outcomes and quantitative results are not expected. Special attention should be given to: describing the research questions, strategies for ensuring validity and reliability, sampling (purposive or probability), qualitative methodology (participation in a unique setting, direct observation, in-depth interviews, and/or analysis of documents and materials), sample characteristics and sample size, control of potential response bias factors, and the analytic framework used to evaluate the results. These articles are formatted as follows: (1) unstructured abstract; (2) introduction (including research questions and literature review); (3) clear and full description of materials and methods, which develops the subject in logical order using appropriate subheadings (criteria for participant selection, qualitative methodology, referenced validated measurement instruments, and statistical analyses); (4) results and discussion, which can be written separately or intermingled as one section (including themes and tentative answers to research questions); (5) conclusions (including applications to address the direct impact of the study findings and future research needs); and (6) detailed list of current, relevant references. Qualitative Research papers are 3,000 words or less with up to three tables/figures.

        Research and Practice Innovations

        Manuscripts should present sound science regarding practical questions or applications pertaining to the practice or the field of nutrition and dietetics. The focus is generally on an emerging or understudied topic and is intended to generate testable hypotheses, raise questions for further study, or draw scientifically relevant and practical conclusions. These papers offer insights and experiences that might lead to more formal research efforts, but typically provide valuable hands-on information based on well-documented available evidence. These articles are formatted as follows: (1) unstructured abstract; (2) introduction; (3) body, which develops the subject in logical order using appropriate subheadings; (4) conclusions, with a heavy emphasis on the applications to general practice and future research needs; and (5) detailed list of current, relevant references. Research and Practice Innovations articles should not exceed 3,000 words and can include up to three tables and/or figures.

        Research and Professional Brief

        These evidence-based, experimentally designed articles are short reports of research findings; case studies; well-designed pilot studies; or cross-sectional, validation, or smaller-scale observational studies using validated methods, secondary analyses from larger population-based studies, and reporting diet assessment data. These manuscripts should include: (1) an unstructured abstract; (2) introduction; (3) body, which develops the subject in logical order using appropriate headings (“Methods,” “Results and Discussion” [intermingled and including limitations], and “Conclusions”); and (4) pertinent references. These research briefs are typically 2,000-2,500 words and can include a maximum of two tables and/or figures.

        Practical Clinical Solutions

        Nutrition-related case studies of general or of unique interest to the profession should focus on a specific diagnosis for a particular patient or groups of patients and utilize the Nutrition Care Process (J Am Diet Assoc. 2003;103:1061-1072.) Manuscripts should include: (1) an introduction and general description of the pathophysiology of the disease or disorder and its nutritional relevancy; (2) a brief but thorough description of the clinical case (eg, patient profile, presenting symptoms, relevant past medical/surgical history, hospital or treatment course with applicable clinical data, including physical description, laboratory results, tests or procedures, and nutrition diagnosis); (3) the interventions and medical nutrition therapies, including outcome data and evidence-based guidelines; and (4) a discussion, summary, and conclusion, which potentially include lessons learned for the management of similar cases and emphasis on future directions for applicable research. Practical Clinical Solutions submissions average approximately 1,500 words, excluding references and can include one to two tables and/or figures. Please refer to following citation for a template of these submissions: J Am Diet Assoc. 2008;108:2105-2108.

        Research Editorial

        A Research Editorial is written in conjunction with an upcoming publication of an Original Research paper. Well-documented, evidence-based editorials on relevant subject matter of key interest to the readership are invited. These peer-reviewed manuscripts average in length around 2,500 words (excluding references) and may include tables or figures. Editorials are expected to contribute substantive evidence regarding the topic of specific interest, not simply descriptive or subjective material.


        Commentaries are peer-reviewed scholarly papers that often address topics of interest to the dietetics profession that may have been previously published in the Journal or foreshadow emerging science or practical applications. Commentaries should focus on matters of nutrition research, the practice of dietetics, or related areas. Commentaries are around 2,500 words in length and are expected to be well documented with qualified references, may include one or two tables or graphs as appropriate, and should reflect a substantive area of concern. Subjective, anecdotal, or purely descriptive data are not publishable in this context.

        Emerging Science and Translational Applications

        These brief papers communicate novel scientific or conceptual advancements within the field of dietetics that is vital to providing timely support for promising areas of future research and practice. As formal research manuscripts or briefs may not yet be fully developed, progress reports reflecting emerging science and innovative findings specific to dietetics issues are welcome to help keep food and nutrition practitioners apprised of important new developments in the field. Brief summaries should be written in a narrative format with specified subheadings that progress in a logical order providing the following: (1) introduction (succinctly summarizing in a few sentences the relevant science and the novelty of this new emerging area: Why is this new or innovative? What gap in research or practice does this attempt to address?); (2) body (Describe the concept, idea, or new area of interest and how it is being tested: What technique, methods, or approach to the problem is applied? Briefly, in a few sentences, summarize the developmental process and/or improvements to previous versions, practices, or techniques: What is it? How is it different? How does understanding it enhance nutrition and dietetics?); (3) conclusions (Describe future research implications or direct applications to the field of nutrition and dietetics. In a few sentences explore the potential impact this is likely to have and offer Web site or other access to ongoing progress reports: How does this change future research, practice, or educations efforts?). These brief reports are typically around 800 words with up to one table or figure (optional) and only key references.

        Non–Peer-Reviewed Manuscripts

        Categories include:

        Topics of Professional Interest

        This section provides articles on cutting-edge nutrition-related findings, dietetics issues, media topics, and client communication issues. Articles contribute to what is often an emerging area and are expected to keep the registered dietitian/dietetic technician, registered on the cutting and contributing edge of health issues in nutrition. These manuscripts may range in length from 1,000 to 3,000 words, including references and tabular material.

        Business of Dietetics

        This section provides practical insights into the business field, such as management issues, legal knowledge, career tips, professional economic issues, and leadership training. These manuscripts average between 850 and 2,000 words.

        Letters to the Editor

        This section contains letters to the Editor-in-Chief regarding manuscripts published within the past 6 months. Letters should generate progressive discussion with the authors by objectively addressing key scientific factors or controversies that add important, constructive, well-documented points to the topic. Letters should be succinct, non-pejorative, and no more than 500 words and can contain up to 20 references.

        How to Submit a Manuscript

        Elsevier Editorial System (EES), the Web-based peer-review and article submission system for the Journal of the American Dietetic Association, is required for submission of manuscripts and reviews. Web-based peer review provides full electronic capabilities for submission, review, and status updates. Manuscripts must be submitted at, and should contain the following (as appropriate):
        • cover letter—an informal introduction to the paper citing any relevant information to the editors about the manuscript that is not included in the text (submitted online and required with each submission/round of revision);
        • abstract (included in the “manuscript” document);
        • author page (author names should not appear anywhere else within the manuscript or other documents);
        • manuscript formatted in Microsoft Word (PDF files are not acceptable) containing continuous line and page numbers and notice of informed consent/Institutional Review Board approval (or note of exemption);
        • tables and/or figures (attached as separate files); hard copies may be requested if the manuscript is accepted for publication. Please see “MANUSCRIPT PREPARATION” section for information on table and figure preparation;
        • acknowledgement page, if any;
        • copyright/authorship/conflict of interest form (may be submitted offline; please see further information in the “Copyright Transfer, Authorship Agreement, and Conflict of Interest” section);
        • funding disclosure (if there is none, upload an unsigned document stating as such); and
        • conflict of interest disclosure (if there is none, upload an unsigned document stating as such).
        Manuscripts that do not comply with these specific guidelines will be returned to authors for revision prior to being sent out for review or evaluated by editors.
        Authors will be prompted to copy the abstract into a separate text box for use by reviewers. All Original Research, Research and Practice Innovations, Qualitative Research, Review, and Research and Professional Brief manuscripts are then sent to peer reviewers. The identities of both the peer reviewers and the authors are kept confidential. The reviewers evaluate each manuscript on the basis of content, originality, scientific accuracy, clarity, and contribution to the field of nutrition and dietetics. Manuscripts are accepted at the discretion of the reviewers and the Journal editors. After peer review (usually 3 to 5 weeks after the date of submission), the corresponding author will be notified whether the manuscript has been accepted with revision or rejected.
        The Tutorial for Authors can also be found at For problems or questions concerning submission, contact Claire Zulkey, Assistant to the Editor-in-Chief, at 312/908-5749 or [email protected]

        Author Responsibilities

        Manuscript content and accuracy are the authors' responsibility.
        Manuscripts must be submitted solely to the Journal. A manuscript is considered for publication with the understanding that it has not been published in its entirety or any portion thereof (this includes tables and figures) previously in print or electronic form and is not under consideration by another publication or electronic medium. Findings previously presented in an oral report or in an abstract in conjunction with a scientific or professional conference may be submitted for consideration. However, the author(s) must inform the Journal, via EES, of any previous disclosure of information contained in a submitted manuscript, including the aforementioned or other reports of the information in technical papers or newsletters.

        Copyright Transfer, Authorship Agreement, and Conflict of Interest

        The Transfer of Copyright, Authorship Agreement, and Conflict of Interest Form can be downloaded from EES at
        The American Dietetic Association holds the copyright on all material published in the Journal or on the Journal's Web site. All authors must sign and date this statement that transfers their article's copyright to the Association and submit it with their manuscript. (Signatures reproduced by photocopy or fax are acceptable and legally binding.) Manuscripts submitted by authors who were employees of the US federal government at the time their work was conducted and written are not subject to the Copyright Act; therefore, these authors do not have to submit a statement of copyright transfer but must inform the Journal of their status as federal employees. Authors who transfer their copyright will not lose the right to reprint material from their articles but will be required to acknowledge and credit the American Dietetic Association in all reprints. If a manuscript is not accepted, or is withdrawn before publication, transfer of copyright is null and void.
        All persons designated as authors must meet the criteria for authorship detailed in the Authorship Agreement. The Journal follows the Uniform Requirements for Manuscripts Submitted to Biomedical Journals from the International Committee of Medical Journal Editors ( An explanation for the addition or removal of an author must be provided with direct verification from the added/removed author. See “Acknowledgments” and “Funding/Support Disclosure” sections for guidelines on how to recognize other contributors to the work.
        Authors must inform the Journal in writing of any financial arrangements, organizational affiliations, or other relationships that may constitute a conflict of interest regarding the subject matter of the manuscript. See “Conflict of Interest Disclosure” section for more details.
        The Transfer of Copyright, Authorship Agreement, and Conflict of Interest Form can be submitted via EES, e-mailed to [email protected], faxed to 312/503-1583, or sent via mail to Claire Zulkey, Assistant to the Editor-in-Chief, Journal of the American Dietetic Association, 680 N Lake Shore Dr., Suite 1400, Chicago, IL 60611.

        Ethics and Study Participant Coordination

        In studies involving human participants, authors must provide a statement in the manuscript regarding ethical approval, the use of Institutional Review Board-approved protocol, signed consent forms, and compliance with Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) guidelines.


        Authors are encouraged to acknowledge persons other than coauthors who have made substantial contributions to the development of their study or manuscript. Permission from all persons named in the acknowledgments must be obtained prior to submission to the Journal and authors must inform the Editor-in-Chief in writing that such permission has been obtained. This statement can be included in the “Comments” section in EES when submitting a manuscript. A statement in the Transfer of Copyright, Authorship Agreement, and Conflict of Interest Form verifies that written consent was obtained from those acknowledged. Any personal acknowledgments should also be submitted as a separate attached page with the manuscript.

        Funding/Support Disclosure

        All financial and material support for the research and the work should be clearly and completely identified and submitted in EES as a separate attached page with the manuscript. Inclusion of an external Data Safety and Monitoring Board is strongly recommended for all industry-sponsored research. If there is no funding or support, a page should be attached stating as such.

        Conflict of Interest Disclosure

        A conflict of interest may exist when an author (or the author's institution or employer) has financial or personal relationships or affiliations that could influence (or bias) the author's decisions, work, or manuscript. All authors are required to disclose all potential conflicts of interest, including specific financial interests and relationships and affiliations (other than those affiliations listed in the author page of the manuscript) relevant to the subject of their manuscript. Authors should err on the side of full disclosure and should contact the editorial office if they have questions or concerns.
        All such disclosures must be submitted in EES as a separate, unsigned, attached page with the manuscript. Authors without conflicts of interest, including specific financial interests and relationships and affiliations relevant to the subject of their manuscript, should include a statement of no such interests. Failure to include this information in the manuscript may delay the review of the manuscript.
        Authors are expected to provide detailed information about all relevant financial interests and relationships or financial conflicts within the past 5 years and for the foreseeable future (including, but not limited to employment/affiliation, grants or funding, consultancies, honoraria, speakers' bureaus, stock ownership or options, expert testimony, royalties, or patents filed, received, pending, or in preparation), particularly those present at the time the research was conducted and through publication, as well as other financial interests (such as patent applications in preparation), that represent potential future financial gain. Although many universities and other institutions have established policies and thresholds for reporting financial interests and other conflicts of interest, the Journal of the American Dietetic Association requires complete disclosure of all relevant financial relationships and potential financial conflicts of interest, regardless of amount or value. If authors are uncertain about what constitutes a relevant financial interest or relationship, they should contact the editorial office.
        For all accepted manuscripts, each author's disclosures of conflicts of interest and relevant financial interests and affiliations and declarations of no such interests will be published. Decisions about whether such information provided by authors should be published, and thereby disclosed to readers, are usually straightforward. Although editors are willing to discuss disclosure of specific conflicts of interest with authors, the Journal's policy is one of complete disclosure of all potential conflicts of interest, including specific financial interests and relationships and affiliations (other than those affiliations listed in the author page of the manuscript) relevant to the subject of their manuscript. If an author's disclosure of potential conflicts of interest is determined to be inaccurate or incomplete after publication, a correction will be published to rectify the original published disclosure statement, and additional action may be taken as necessary, as outlined by and in compliance with the Committee on Publication Ethics (

        Permission to Reprint

        Any direct quotations, figures, or tables that have appeared in copyrighted material must be accompanied by written permission for their use from the copyright owner and original author, along with full source information. Images of brand name products must have written consent from the manufacturer to be reproduced. Any photographs of identifiable persons must be accompanied by signed releases showing informed consent. Since articles appear in both the print and online versions of the Journal, the permission must specify “permission to publish in all forms and media.” Failure to obtain print and electronic permission may result in the images not appearing in the print and/or online version.

        Manuscript Preparation

        Use standard 12-point font and double-space type throughout, including the title page, abstract, text, acknowledgments, references, tables, and figure legends. Number each page of the manuscript consecutively and include continuous line numbers. Authors' names should appear only on the authors' page described below. Other pages should not contain any information identifying the authors. A description of the various components of a manuscript follows.
        Note: The manuscript should be formatted in Microsoft Word. Do not use the footnote function for references or the comments function. Include references at the end of the manuscript. DO NOT UPLOAD MANUSCRIPT TEXT FILES IN PDF FORMAT. Also, manuscripts must not be submitted with track changes.

        Authors' Page

        Each manuscript must include a separate attached authors' page that lists: (1) the title of the manuscript; (2) two to four key words or descriptive phrases; (3) word counts for the abstract and the text (excluding references, tables, and figures); (4) full names, academic degrees, and affiliations (position title, organization, address, telephone number, fax number, and e-mail address) for all authors both at the time the work was completed and at present if affiliations have changed since the work was completed; (5) identification of the corresponding author; and (6) name and address of author who will handle reader requests for reprints, if this is different from the corresponding author. Type authors' names in the order they should appear in the published article. To be listed as an author on a manuscript, authors must have contributed to one or more of the following elements of the paper: conception and design, obtaining funding, acquisition of data, data management, statistical analyses and interpretation, or drafting or revision of the manuscript. It is the lead author's responsibility to assure that each co-author satisfies these criteria. Refer to the subsection titled “Credentials” in the section titled “JOURNAL STYLE” for more information about listing degrees and credentials on the authors' page.


        The manuscript title should be specific and informative, conveying the findings of the research (eg, “Dietary fiber lowers serum cholesterol” rather than “Effects of dietary fiber on serum cholesterol”). The manuscript title should appear on the abstract, the first page of the manuscript text, the authors' page, and all correspondence and disclosure statements.


        Authors should prepare a structured abstract for manuscripts submitted to the Original Research category and a conventional (unstructured) abstract for manuscripts submitted to the Research & Practice Innovations, Review, and Research and Professional Briefs categories. Abstracts should be understandable without reference to the main text and should be written for a general journal readership. Descriptions of the abstract forms follow.

        Structured Abstract

        Structured abstracts provide a focused overview of a study's design and outcomes by organizing information with descriptive headings. Suggested headings, and the information that should be provided for each, are described below. Structured abstracts should not exceed 300 words.
        • Background. Briefly explain the context of the study or summarize the relevant problem addressed by the study. The statement should clearly state the rationale for investigating the research question.
        • Objective. Describe the question or problem addressed and the testable hypotheses involved.
        • Design. Identify the design of the study (eg, intervention, randomized controlled trial, case-control, cohort, survey, factorial design, or cost-effectiveness analysis). Define the duration of follow-up. Describe the criterion standard used for comparison. Define and describe methodology used to collect data.
        • Participants/setting. Describe eligibility criteria used to select participants, the number of participants involved in the analysis, and the attrition rate. Describe where and when the study was conducted and how the setting might relate to the selection of participants (eg, community-based or hospitalized participants) or the study's applicability to a specialty practice situation.
        • Intervention. Describe the essential features of the treatment or intervention in studies that use an experimental design. This heading, as well as “Main outcome measures,” should be omitted in descriptive research (eg, studies that use surveys).
        • Main outcome measures. Note the primary outcome measure as planned before data collection began; if the hypothesis being reported was formulated during or after data collection, this information should be clearly stated.
        • Statistical analyses performed. Indicate statistical tests used in data analyses (eg, χ2, analysis of variance, or confidence intervals). Note procedures used to adjust for confounding factors, such as age and sex.
        • Results. Identify study results related to the a priori hypothesis and clearly label findings from post hoc analyses. Describe relevant findings of the study including numerical values.
        • Conclusions. Offer key conclusions on the basis of evidence provided by the study and relate these findings to clinical or practice applications.

        Unstructured Abstract

        Unstructured abstracts are written in paragraph style and should describe the problem being addressed, how the study was designed and implemented, the sample size, the year the data were collected, the statistical procedures, the primary findings and the conclusions. Unstructured abstracts must not exceed 250 words.

        Tables and Figures

        Tables and figures should be limited to those required to clarify an article. Each table or figure should be understandable by itself and not require the reader to refer to the text. Present data only once, either in tabular or graphic form or in the text. Authors should list the title and number of each table and figure on a separate attached page submitted with their manuscript. Acceptable file types for tables and figures are: TIFF, EPS, PDF, and Microsoft Office files (Word, PowerPoint, Excel). The preferred font type for tables and figures is Helvetica Condensed; however, any font type in the Helvetica family is acceptable.


        Tables should be double spaced and limited to one per page. Number tables consecutively (according to the order they are cited in the text) with Arabic numbers. Table titles should be detailed enough to stand alone from the manuscript text. Give each column a short or abbreviated heading. Place explanatory matter in footnotes, not in the column headings or table title. Be sure to include the unit of measure (eg, “No.,” “%,” “g,” or “year”) under the appropriate column heading. Use Conventional Units with conversion formulas for Systeme International (SI) values as a footnote. Tables may not contain more than 14 columns. Do not put more than one unit of information in a single cell of the table.
        For numerals less than 1.00, insert a zero to the left of the decimal point (eg, 0.95). Use a hyphen to indicate ranges (eg, 75-100). Identify statistical measures of variations (eg, standard deviation or standard error of the mean). When the designation line at the left-hand side of a table (stub) requires two lines, values in that horizontal row should align with the second line of the designation. Align columns vertically on decimal points, hyphens, or “±” Use superscript letters to indicate footnotes (eg, a,b,c); however, use the standard * for P<0.05, ** for P<0.01, and *** for P<0.001. Footnote order is determined by the first appearance of footnoted material in a horizontal row.
        Authors who incorporate data from another published or unpublished source in a table must cite the original source in a reference or footnote.


        Authors should submit figures as separate attached documents when submitting a manuscript online. Number figures consecutively according to the order they are cited in the text. Bar graphs are used to show proportions or percents within categories, and line graphs are used to show data that are related such as serial observations. Three-dimensional figures are appropriate for simultaneous display of three but not two proportions or percents within categories (eg, height, weight, and percent body weight). Number figures consecutively (according to the order they are cited in the text) with Arabic numbers and supply a brief legend for each.
        Figures can be color or gray scale, and should have a resolution of at least 300 dpi. If submitting a color figure, try to avoid the use of the color yellow, which may not translate well to print. Figures that are line art should have a resolution of 1,200 dpi. If using gray scale, use shades of gray that can be easily distinguished from one another. Combinations of gray-scale and line art should be at least 1,200 dpi. It is important to keep in mind that figures may be reduced to fit allotted space on a Journal page.
        Figure legends should be brief yet make an illustration fully intelligible by itself. Cite and define all acronyms or abbreviations used in the figure in the legend as superscript footnotes (eg, a,b,c). If a figure is reproduced from another source, the appropriate credit line should be incorporated into the figure legend and permission should be obtained from the original source.
        The purpose of the background section is to set the stage for what is to follow. Clearly state the problem and present the relevant hypotheses. The justification for the study is established through a review of the literature that may indicate:
        • 1
          areas of controversy that warrant additional research;
        • 2
          gaps in the literature such as extrapolation from animal studies; and
        • 3
          limitations from previous study designs that may need to be extended. For example, the study may test a hypothesis in a different age group or cultural group, combine a new intervention with established therapies, or may involve a more sophisticated study design.
        Include recent relevant literature as available and also include original research as available. Avoid over reliance on reviews and other secondary sources.
        Provide a statement of the problem and any research questions. Provide a statement of purpose, hypothesis, research objective, and/or specific aims. Provide a statement of concepts, constructs, and variables of relevance.
        The purpose of the methods section is to establish that the study followed rigorous scientific principles. Provide adequate detail so that another investigator could duplicate the study. Use validated methodology if at all possible. If not, justification is required.
        Identify all aspects of data collection, including clinical, self-reported, interviewer administered, etc if these results will be published in the paper. Otherwise, cite the publication where the research protocol and methodology have been published.
        Also provide methods for the analytical processes involved in the study. Any laboratory analyses, nutrient data analyses, or questionnaires should be identified.
        Documentation of Institutional Review Board (IRB) approval is mandatory as follows:
        • State explicitly that human participants' review was approved and how informed consent or assent was obtained.
        • If the protocol is exempt from IRB approval, then indicate as such.
        • For questions regarding IRB, please see the following link:
        • Examples of IRB approval statements are below:
          • The <insert name of institution> Institutional Review Board approved the study protocol and all participants provided written informed consent.
          • This study was deemed exempt by <insert name of institution> Institutional Review Board.
          • This study was deemed exempt under federal regulation 45 CFR §46.101(b).
        For qualitative studies, describe the methodology (eg, focus groups, structured interviews, surveys, questionnaires) in detail and form of data that were collected (eg, field notes, videos, pictures, documents).
        Statistical Methods
        Full description should be included providing the following elements. (Not all items listed below will be relevant for all research papers, but this list is intended to provide a comprehensive list of the aspects of the statistical methods that the papers should describe if relevant.)
        Research design, such as:
        • Descriptive
        • Ecological
        • Observational:
          • Cross-sectional
          • Case-control
          • Prospective, cohort, longitudinal
        • Experimental (eg, randomized clinical trial, crossover design):
          • Was there a control group?
          • Were the participants randomized?
          • Was the intervention assignment blinded/double-blinded?
        • Meta-analysis
        • Qualitative
        • Cost-effectiveness analysis
        Describe population and eligibility criteria:
        • Participant eligibility criteria.
        • Provide inclusion and exclusion criteria with mutually exclusive definitions.
        • Sample size:
          • How was the sample size determined? Was statistical power considered?
          • What type of sampling procedure was used? A statistical random sample? A statistical probability sample? A convenience sample? Why was this sampling procedure used?
          • Describe the population the sample was designed to represent.
        • Recruitment:
          • Time period of recruitment
          • Recruitment method including compensation
          • Number of participants contacted
          • Number of eligible participants
          • Number of participants enrolled
          • Participant matching—describe variables used for the match.
          • Explanation for the categories of participants not enrolled or lost to follow-up
        • For analysis of data collected for a sample or population, report the response rate or percentage of cases in the sample/population with valid data. (This information may be presented in the results section.)
        • Exposure (risk factor) and potential confounding factors:
          • What assessment tool was used?
          • If a (preferably) validated dietary assessment tool was used, provide references regarding validation process.
          • What quality control measures were used during the tool development and data entry?
          • If a nutrient database was used, provide the name and version of this database.
          • If a questionnaire was used, was it self-administered or administered by trained personnel?
          • Quality control measures used?
          • Were questionnaires, focus groups, and survey tools culturally appropriate? Was translation available as necessary?
          • If race or ethnicity is reported, provide information on how this was determined. Comment on who defined the race categories, the investigator, or the participant.
          • If the study is qualitative or quantitative, how were data collected and analyzed?
        • Outcome measures related to the hypotheses (eg, health consequence that may be associated with the exposure):
          • How was the outcome measured or assessed?
          • If this was a cohort design, were the same methods used to track outcomes for all intervention groups?
        • Statistical analyses:
          • What type of variables were used in the study (eg, quantitative or categorical)?
          • What statistical model was used to analyze the data and why was this method chosen?
          • How were the details of the final statistical model developed? This guides the reader to understand why potential confounding factors were included in the final statistical test of the relationship between the exposure and the outcome. At times authors indicate that information, such as age, is included in a questionnaire but the results may not be included in the statistical model. The reader should be provided the criteria for these decisions.
          • If discrete variables are used, how were the categories chosen? If the data were divided into quartiles based on the 25th, 50th, and 75th percentiles, was this based on the combined data from all participants or only one group? What standard references were used for classification of physiological or assessment variables, such as age groups, blood glucose levels, body mass index categories? Provide reference.
          • For qualitative research, describe how clusters were established. Describe how data (eg, field notes, interview transcripts) were analyzed and if evaluated by one than one researcher to ensure reliability. Clearly describe the process used to determine the validity and reliability (eg, content validity, test–retest reliability) of qualitative measures (eg, researcher developed surveys, questionnaires) prior to reporting quantitative measures. Was qualitative analysis software used? If so, what kind? What data can be linked to the qualitative instruments to provide confidence they are a valid and reliable measure of intended variables (ie, attitude, behavior)?
          • What statistical tests were conducted? Note: it is very useful to present the sequence of tests in the order of the specific aims.
          • What statistical program (eg, SPSS, SAS) was used for the analyses?
          • How were post hoc tests analyzed if analysis of variance (ANOVA) was conducted?
          • What was α level to reject the null hypothesis?
        Present the findings from the statistical tests. As noted in the methods section, the presentation of information should follow the “map” laid out by the a priori hypothesis and specific aims. Post hoc results are presented last.
        • Provide descriptive information such as sex, age, and other demographic characteristics, and as appropriate characteristics related to variables of interest (eg, weight, body mass index, and hemoglobin A1c).
        • Number tables and figures in the sequence in which they appear in the text. Tables should support the text and not repeat information.
        • Report results with the effect estimator, confidence intervals, test statistics (eg, t, F, r), and/or P values.
        • Avoid the use of percents for studies with less than 100 participants. Use appropriate significant digits.
        • Provide themes, hypotheses, theories, or answers to research questions in the case of qualitative research.
        Discussion relates the findings to the purpose of the study. Has this study clarified an inconsistency, filled a gap, or extended previous research? Be careful not to overstate the significance of the results. Terms such as “approaches significance” should not be used when statistically the null hypothesis is not rejected.
        • Summarize the results of the a priori hypothesis test. How does this finding compare to the literature?
        • Comment on additional findings from the specific aims and post hoc analyses and relate these to the literature.
        • What were the strengths and weaknesses of the study? How might these limit interpretation of the results?
        • What, if any, are the practical applications/relevance of the results?
        • Comment on any potential competing explanations for the results.
        Please note: The Journal discourages the use of modifiers when describing significance. A test is either significant or not significant. “Slightly,” “marginally,” “almost,” should not be used.
        Succinctly state and relate to the reported results. Post hoc analyses warrant a conservative application. Finally, note future study directions that extend the current findings.

        Software Citations

        Software developers are cited parenthetically in the text after the first mention of a software package. Software citations should include the name, version number, and release date of the software as well as the name and headquarters location (city and state) of the software developer. [Example: All statistical analyses were conducted using the Statistical Analysis Software (version 9.1.3, 2006, SAS Institute Inc, Cary, NC).] If software incorporates a nutrient database, provide information in the text about the database. This should include the release date for the database, a description of substantial modifications made to the database, and an explanation of how missing nutrient data for foods were handled (ie, indicate whether values were extrapolated and evaluate the effect of any missing values on dietary totals for the nutrients of interest). Do not include information about software or databases in the list of references or the abstract.

        Footnotes in Text

        Footnotes should be kept to a minimum and indicated consecutively, with superscript symbols (*, †, ‡, §, etc), throughout the text. Double space footnotes on a separate sheet of paper.


        Number references consecutively in the order they are mentioned in the text. Identify references in text, tables, and figure legends by Arabic numerals in parentheses; do not use superscript numbers. References cited in tables or legends should be numbered in the order in which a table or figure is presented in the manuscript. References should be typed double space on pages separate from the manuscript's main text. Note: Do not use the footnote function in Microsoft Word for references. Include references at the end of the manuscript.
        Currently the Journal does not support EndNote for references lists. EndNote may be used to create references but the field codes must be removed from the document before submitting the manuscript. Please follow the manufacturer's instructions for removing field codes for the version of EndNote used to create the references. A shortcut in Word for removing the field codes is also available by selecting the entire document (Ctrl+A) and then pressing (Ctrl+Shift+F9).
        Authors should use relevant, current citations from the professional and scientific literature. References from professional publications may be included based on the context in which they are included. References from nonscholarly publications are not acceptable. Exceptions may be made based on the context in which the reference is included. Updated references (including access dates for Web site sources) are expected for manuscripts that have undergone a long turn-around time for review and/or revision. No matter how well known a book or source material (eg, Dietary Reference Intakes, Dietary Guidelines for Americans, MyPyramid), it must be included in the list of references if it is mentioned in the manuscript. Avoid using abstracts or presentations as references; full reports, either published or in press, are preferred. Theses and dissertations published in other journals may be used as references. Topics in the American Dietetic Association's Evidence Analysis Library may be referenced as well, when appropriate. Personal communications may not be cited as references but may be noted parenthetically in the text. All personal communications should be dated, and authors must secure the approval of the person quoted. Unpublished data, such as an article submitted for publication but not yet accepted, should be cited parenthetically in the text with a date and the notation “unpublished data.” Articles accepted for publication but not yet published can be included in the list of references with the notation “In press.” Inclusive page numbers must be provided for all periodical articles cited. Page numbers are not required when an entire book is cited, but specific page numbers are needed when only a chapter or section of a book is cited. Provide a page number for all material quoted directly from any source. Authors are responsible for the accuracy and adequacy of all references cited in their manuscript. For more information on references, see the subsection “Reference Style” in the “JOURNAL STYLE” section.
        Plagiarism. In instances where plagiarism is suspected, the Journal follows the protocol set forth by the Committee on Publishing Ethics (

        Journal Style

        For authoritative guidance on style, usage, and spelling, the Journal uses the following resources: AMA Manual of Style, 10th ed; Dorland's Illustrated Medical Dictionary, 30th ed; and Merriam Webster's Collegiate Dictionary, 11th ed. Other resources for laboratory values, race and ethnicity, and Dietary Reference Intakes are listed under those sections.


        To keep the byline for each article uncluttered, the preference for Journal articles is to list the highest academic degree(s) of the authors. For food and nutrition professionals, only credentials and certifications from the Commission on Dietetic Registration (eg, RD, DTR, CSP, CSR, CSG, CSO, CSSD); state licensure (LD, LDN, or CDN); and fellowships, such as FADA, may be listed. Designations of state licensure and credentials not from the Commission on Dietetic Registration are not included. If an author has a doctorate, master's level degrees should not be included unless the master's degree is in a different or specialized field. Academic degrees below the master's level are omitted. For credentials issued outside the United States, indicate the country of origin in a footnote.


        Numbers below 10 are spelled out unless followed by a unit of measure or a percentage. Express all numbers larger than 10 as Arabic numerals. Numbers that begin a sentence are always spelled out. The number of significant digits reported should be realistic and supported by the original data (eg, 2,125 kcal, not 2,124.8 kcal; 105 lb, not 105.734 lb). For sample sizes smaller than 100, frequency must be given (eg, two of seven, not 29%); percent may also be provided if necessary. Also, do not include a decimal and zero after a whole percent number (Correct: 72%, Incorrect: 72.0%).

        Abbreviations and Acronyms

        Abbreviate units of measure when used with numerals (5 g, 1,000 kcal). Chemical formulas should be written out, unless they are used to economize space in the column headings of a table; however, the formulas should be expanded in the footnotes. Always provide the complete form of an acronym the first time it is mentioned in the text (note that if an abbreviation has been spelled out in the abstract, it still must be spelled out in the text for first-time use). An acronym or abbreviation is permitted if it is used three or more times within the manuscript text. Avoid excessive use of acronyms and abbreviations. Avoid author-invented abbreviations and acronyms.

        Laboratory Values

        All clinical laboratory values must be expressed in Conventional Units, (eg, lipids should be expressed in mg/dL) with Système International (SI) units in parentheses in the manuscript text, for example: triglycerides 100 mg/dL (1.13 mmol/L). Authors must provide the conversion factor to SI units as a footnote in tables and figures. The exception to this is the use of kilocalories; the Journal will continue to use kilocalories instead of kilojoules. The metric system is preferred for the expression of length, area, mass, and volume. A table of normal values in both Conventional and SI units and the appropriate conversion factors appears on The Journal of the American Medical Association Web site: Authors should refer to this table when converting data and use it as a guide for choosing the appropriate number of significant digits.

        Trade Names

        When specific products used in the research are referred to by a trade name, give the manufacturer's name and location parenthetically after the first mention. When possible use generic names for food and drugs. Registration or trademarks are not required.

        Reference Style

        The Journal follows the AMA Manual of Style, 10th ed, for references. One exception is that reference citations in the Journal must list all authors' names; use of “et al” is not acceptable. Abbreviate periodical titles according to the US National Library of Medicine's lists of biographic data found at: If a title does not appear on this list, provide the complete title. Published and updated dates, if available, and access dates for Web sites cited must be included. For example: Smith J. Risk factors for cancer. Cancer Risk Factors Web site. Published December 1, 2000. Updated January 15, 2008. Accessed February 1, 2008.

        Dietary Reference Intakes

        Authors must use the Dietary Reference Intakes (DRIs), not the 1989 Recommended Dietary Allowances. Information on the DRIs can be found at: If for any reason an author wishes to report nutrient intakes without using the stated DRIs, intakes may be reported, but adequacy should not be assessed.

        Personal Pronouns

        Use of personal prounouns (eg, I, our, we) should be used sparingly, if at all, in Journal submissions except Letters to the Editor.

        Race and Ethnicity

        The Journal will follow the guidelines set forth by the National Institutes of Health. This can be found at:

        Editorial Processing and Production

        Article content is the authors' responsibility. Accepted manuscripts are copyedited to conform to Journal style and to meet space limitations. Authors should note that the editing process is separate from and occurs after the peer-review process. The corresponding author will receive an electronic proof of the article and have an opportunity to review editorial changes and to double-check accuracy of content, tables, and statistics before publication. However, changes made by copyeditors for style, grammar, and readability should not be altered by authors unless a scientific error has been introduced. Authors will be expected to review galleys promptly (within 4 business days of receipt). Information regarding reprint orders will be sent along with author galleys from the Journal's publisher.