All About Registered Dietitians

In honor of National Registered Dietitian Day (today!) I decided to blog about registered dietitians, or RD for short. A lot of people ask me what dietitians do and what our role is in health care.

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First, what is a dietitian?
Registered dietitians are food and nutrition experts. We translate the science of nutrition into practical solutions for healthy living. RDs have degrees in nutrition, dietetics, public health, or a related field from accredited colleges and universities… like Mizzou! 🙂
Registered dietitians draw on their experience to develop a personalized nutrition plan for individuals of all ages. We are able to separate facts from fads and can put you on the path to lowering weight, eating healthfully, and reducing your risk of chronic disease.

Are dietitians the same as nutritionists?
No. Every registered dietitian is a nutritionist, but not every nutritionist is a registered dietitian. You do not need a degree to call yourself a nutritionist, but a registered dietitian must have a qualifying degree and be credentialed by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.
Rely on the qualified professionals to answer any nutrition questions and to give advice.

Where do dietitians work?
Hospitals (in-patient and out-patient), nursing homes, school districts, corporate wellness, government, foodservice, food development, private counseling, fitness centers, eating disorder clinics, sports teams, large restaurant chains, colleges and universities, research labs, WIC, doctor’s offices, food banks, authors of nutrition or recipe books, community outreach.. the list goes on! You will find us everywhere!!

How can registered dietitians improve the life of Americans and save health care dollars?
– A registered dietitian can develop a personalized plan for healthy living to help achieve weight loss in a way that works for you. Maintaining a healthy lifestyle and weight will greatly reduce your risk of chronic disease.
– If you have diabetes or pre diabetes, dietitians can help change your life by teaching you the skills needed to manage blood sugars as well as how to lose and maintain a healthy weight.
– If your community has high levels of obesity, a registered dietitian can work with public health, government, schools, and other local leaders to create wellness programs to promote healthy eating and physical activity.
– Registered dietitians can work with food scientists to develop new products that are both tasty and healthy.
– Registered dietitians can help improve performance in sports – Everything from a large sports team to an individual training for a marathon to a person starting to work out consistently for the first time.
– If an individual has had gastric bypass surgery to promote weight loss, a dietitian has a large role in making sure the person is getting adequate nutrients for the smaller stomach.
– In the hospital setting, a registered dietitian can assure you are getting adequate nutrition and fluids through special dietary needs, tube feeding, and promoting intake of food and/or fortified nutrition drinks. This will maximize healing and help you leave sooner!
– Some dietitians have special culinary skills to teach individuals who do not know how to cook to cook in a simple, convenient way that maximizes health and nutrition.
– A registered dietitian can assist with eating disorders like anorexia, bulimia, and overweight issues.
– A registered dietitian can lead the efforts in making more local foods be available for a community. The RD will make sure the foods are not only healthy but will also positively affect the local economy.
– In schools and through one-on-one counseling, a registered dietitian can provide guidance and assurance that your child is getting adequate nutrition.
– With the increasing number of elderly, a registered dietitian can establish guidelines for proper nourishment and hydration.
– And MUCH more!!

If you have questions about dietitians, do not hesitate to ask one! We are all friendly and will help out in any way we can. Feel free to ask me (a registered dietitian!) – just leave a question below in the comments!



Filed under Nourish the Mind

2 responses to “All About Registered Dietitians

  1. Pam

    Thanks for telling us the difference between an nutritionist and a dietitian. I had been using those words to mean the same thing. I now understand that there is a big difference between the two words!

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