5 Ways Dietitians Contribute to Global Health

dietitianIn a world that is becoming more health conscious daily, the role of the dietitian is critical. Dietitians study how the right food choices will enhance a healthy lifestyle. They offer practical plans to manage certain chronic illnesses such as diabetes or Crohn’s disease, as well.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics defines this industry as growing faster than average. A career in this field can take you to many different settings from private practice to a clinical environment. Look at five ways dietitians contribute to global health.

Clinical Nutrition Professionals

The clinical dietitian is the face most people associated with the title. This is the person who visits you in the hospital to discuss your menu choices or the individual a doctor consults with when a patient has weight management issues or specific dietary restrictions.

In a clinical setting, the dietitian provides nutrition therapy to patients with a variety of complaints. This healthcare professional might work in a hospital, nursing home, rehabilitation center or a clinic. A clinical dietitian offers specialized services that include nourishment through feeding tubes, neonatal diets or parenteral nutrition.

Community Service

A community dietitian is part of a neighborhood or citywide wellness program. This includes working hand in hand with public health agencies, home care specialists and social services. The goal is to promote health within a specific geographic region. The age of patients can be from newborn to elderly.

Food Service Industry

A food service dietitian manages meal planning that focuses on a large group. This specialized career path encompasses many different opportunities. The role might take you to a prison system, for example, or a public school program. Some dietitians work in corporate restaurants to help plan nutritionally sound menus that will be popular with consumers, and more and more grocery store chains are adding registered dietitians to their employment rosters as well. Any business that offers large-scale food production can potentially have a certified dietitian at the helm.

Gerontological Nutritionist

As a person ages, their nutritional needs change. A gerontological dietitian focuses on the challenges elderly people face. This advanced level specialty requires further education in gerontology. Professionals in this field work in nursing homes, memory care centers, with community-based senior citizens programs and in government agencies. The may educate other healthcare professionals in gerontology nutrition, as well.

Pediatric Dietitians

Like the gerontological dietitians, working with children takes specialized training. The pediatric dietitian fosters healthy eating at an early age. The need for professionals in this field is growing due to the escalating issue of childhood obesity. A dietitian in this field can work in the school system, in community-based programs, in healthcare facilities or as part of a pediatric service. A pediatric dietitian covers not only lifestyle choices but also eating disorders and food allergies.

The one common denominator all these roles have is food. A dietitian teaches others how food affects the human body. It is their mission to encourage proper eating to improve your health.

About the Author

Health researcher Miriam Mcneil, author of Salaries for Health Science Degree, writes for numerous online resources about all issues related to human health.