Cooking Light received the 2008 Media Excellence Award from the American Dietetic Association. This marks the first time the world's largest organization of food and nutrition professionals has presented the distinction to a consumer magazine.
"Since the magazine's founding, the editors at Cooking Light have sought to demystify the facts about what it means to eat well in America," says Editor in Chief Mary Kay Culpepper. "Our unique nutrition coverage―which is expressed in the most clear, concise, and positive terms―has won us the trust of our 12 million readers. It's especially rewarding to see that it's also won the notice of the ADA."
As the nation's largest food and healthy lifestyle magazine, Cooking Light informs its readers each month about nutrition, translating the latest research to the plate with useful applications and recipes. The magazine works with an editorial advisory board composed of medical and nutrition experts to ensure the highest degree of accuracy.
The ADA Media Excellence Award is presented based on six criteria: coverage of current issues and concerns with balance and perspective; regular use of dietetic professionals as experts; scientific accuracy; broad audience reach; regular citation of the ADA across multimedia platforms; and creativity in presentation.
Cooking Light editors and registered dietitians Mary Creel, MS, RD, and Kathy Kitchens Downie, RD, accepted the award in Chicago this month at the American Dietetic Association’s annual Food and Nutrition Conference and Expo.
"It's a high honor, since we really strive to convey the message of eating smart, being fit, and living well," says Downie, the newest RD on the Cooking Light editorial staff and President-elect of the Alabama Dietetic Association.
In 2007, the year for which the award criteria were measured, the magazine cited the ADA or registered dietitians in every issue. In fact, RDs are involved nearly every step of the editorial process from story inception to the developed recipes, all of which must meet certain nutrition criteria and pass rigorous taste testing.
"We have RDs on staff, others who write stories for us, dietitians who develop recipes, and ADA spokespeople in articles," Downie says. "We really work with dietitians a lot."
Creel, the magazine's founding RD, has been on staff since the magazine's launch in 1987. She noted that this award is a significant accolade for the brand.
"We've received editorial and advertising awards before, but we've never gotten an award this big from an organization like this," she says. "I think it adds to our credibility."
Since its inception, Cooking Light has been committed to promoting a nutritionally sound approach to eating that eschews dieting trends and fads.
"We really look to science, government recommendations, and public health organizations as sources for our content," Downie says.