Today is Registered Dietitian Day!! Registered dietitians (RDs) around the country, including myself, commit ourselves to improving the health of our clients and communities.
One of the questions I'm asked a lot is, "What's the difference between a dietitian and a nutritionist?"
The answer is, there aren’t any recognized guidelines that define the role and requirements for a nutritionist. Traditionally, the nutritionist title was reserved for individuals who weren’t RDs, but had a master's degree in nutrition, but these days it can describe anyone who works in nutrition.
On the other hand, the dietetics profession is highly regulated and bound by a code of ethics. All dietitians hold a minimum of a bachelor's degree, complete an internship and pass an examination. Dietitians must renew their registration annually, and are required to become recertified after five years of practice. In addition, because nutrition recommendations and beliefs are always changing, RDs are expected to follow pace—they’re required to maintain current knowledge of dietetics by completing continuing education credits each year.
A registered dietitians works throughout the community in many different fields, including schools and universities, public health clinics, hospitals, nursing homes, fitness centers, food management, food industry, research, private practice, and for web-based companies.
Helping people shed pounds is one of the most common reasons people seek out an RD, but our expertise is not limited to weight management. Dietitians help people do so much more. They help clients maximize their quality of life, whether the goal is to take control of a health issue such as diabetes or heart disease, battle an eating disorder, train for a marathon, recover from a major illness like cancer, or simply to learn more about food and nutrition. Registered dietitians are there to assist by using experience, science-based knowledge, and proven techniques.
For more information about National Nutrition Month and Registered Dietitian Day, visit the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.
In Health and Happiness,
Kelly Harrington, MS, RDN
Registered Dietitian Nutritionist for Healthy Goods