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Definition :
Nutritionists and Dietitians advise on, administer, supervise, or perform work in human nutrition requiring the application of professional knowledge of dietetics or nutrition directed toward the maintenance and improvement of human health. Dietitians and nutritionists plan food and nutrition programs and supervise the preparation and serving of meals. They help to prevent and treat illnesses by promoting healthy eating habits and recommending dietary modifications, such as the use of less salt for those with high blood pressure or the reduction of fat and sugar intake for those who are overweight.

 

Nutrition :
Nutrition is the science of food and nutrients, their uses, processes, and balance in relation to health and disease. The work of nutritionists emphasizes the social, economic, cultural, and psychological implications of food usually associated with public health care services or with food assistance and research activities. The work includes directing, promoting, and evaluating nutritional components of programs and projects; developing standards, guides, educational and informational material for use in Federally funded or operated nutrition programs; participating in research activities involving applied or basic research; or providing training and consultation on nutrition.

 

Dietetics:
Dietetics is an essential component of the health sciences, usually with emphasis on providing patient care services in hospitals or other treatment facilities. The work of the dietitian includes food service management, assessing nutritional needs of individuals or community groups, developing therapeutic diet plans, teaching the effects of nutrition on health, conducting research regarding the use of diet in the treatment of disease, or consulting on or administering a dietetic program. Dietitians manage food service systems for institutions such as hospitals and schools, promote sound eating habits through education, and conduct research.

 

Major Areas of Practice
Major areas of practice include clinical, community, management, and consultant dietetics.

 

  • Clinical Dietitians:
    Clinical dietitians provide nutritional services for patients in institutions such as hospitals and nursing care facilities. They assess patients' nutritional needs, develop and implement nutrition programs, and evaluate and report the results. They also confer with doctors and other health care professionals to coordinate medical and nutritional needs. Some clinical dietitians specialize in the management of overweight patients or in the care of critically ill or renal (kidney) and diabetic patients. In addition, clinical dietitians in nursing care facilities, small hospitals, or correctional facilities may manage the food service department.
  • Community Dietitians:
    Community dietitians counsel individuals and groups on nutritional practices designed to prevent disease and promote health. Working in places such as public health clinics, home health agencies, and health maintenance organizations, community dietitians evaluate individual needs, develop nutritional care plans, and instruct individuals and their families. Dietitians working in home health agencies provide instruction on grocery shopping and food preparation to the elderly, individuals with special needs, and children. Increased public interest in nutrition has led to job opportunities in food manufacturing, advertising, and marketing. In these areas, dietitians analyze foods, prepare literature for distribution, or report on issues such as the nutritional content of recipes, dietary fiber, or vitamin supplements.
  • Management Dietitians:
    Management dietitians oversee large-scale meal planning and preparation in health care facilities, company cafeterias, prisons, and schools. They hire, train, and direct other dietitians and food service workers; budget for and purchase food, equipment, and supplies; enforce sanitary and safety regulations; and prepare records and reports.
  • Consultant Dietitians:
    Consultant dietitians work under contract with health care facilities or in their own private practice. They perform nutrition screenings for their clients and offer advice on diet-related concerns such as weight loss and cholesterol reduction. Some work for wellness programs, sports teams, supermarkets, and other nutrition-related businesses. They may consult with food service managers, providing expertise in sanitation, safety procedures, menu development, budgeting, and planning.

 

Job Outlook :
Employment of dietitians is expected to grow faster than the average for all occupations through 2014 as a result of increasing emphasis on disease prevention through improved dietary habits. A growing and aging population will boost the demand for meals and nutritional counseling in hospitals, residential care facilities, schools, prisons, community health programs, and home health care agencies. Public interest in nutrition and increased emphasis on health education and prudent lifestyles also will spur demand, especially in management. In addition to employment growth, job openings will result from the need to replace experienced workers who leave the occupation.
The number of dietitian positions in nursing care facilities and in State government hospitals is expected to decline, as these establishments continue to contract with outside agencies for food services. However, employment is expected to grow rapidly in contract providers of food services, in outpatient care centers, and in offices of physicians and other health practitioners. With increased public awareness of obesity and diabetes, Medicare coverage may be expanded to include medical nutrition therapy for renal and diabetic patients. As a result, dietitians that have specialized training in renal or diabetic diets or have a master's degree should experience good employment opportunities.

 

 

 
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