March is National Nutrition Month – Who are the Nutrition Experts?
How to find a qualified registered dietitian.
Food and nutrition are very hot topics and something that most everyone, okay everyone knows about. But when it comes to getting nutrition based on the science of food and nutrition who do you turn to? The answer is to a Registered Dietitian (RD).
All RDs have earned Bachelor’s Degrees with coursework that has been approved by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics. After receiving the bachelor’s degree individuals must complete an accredited, supervised practice program in a health care facility, a food service corporation, a community agency or a school. Upon completion of these requirements a credentialing exam must be taken.
After successful completion of these three components an individual can add the RD credential to their name. While all RDs have bachelor’s degrees more than 50 percent have Masters or Doctorate degrees. Learning doesn’t stop with acquisition of the RD credential so all RDs must complete continuing education hours throughout their career.
An RD is the right person to provide you with nutrition information because of the academic background but also because they are trained to translate the science of nutrition into practical, everyday tips and recommendations. You might wonder how an RD and a nutritionist differ and the answer is simple. For someone to use the RD credential they must meet the steps listed above BUT there are no such guidelines associated with the term nutritionist. That’s right no guaranteed education, continuing education or even any training at all, so while All RDs are nutritionists not all nutritionists are RDs.
To make this a little simpler, starting this week the RD credential has added a new letter to reflect the nutritionist expertise of the RD. If you need nutrition help – contact a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist – RDN. You can find an RDN (and an RD) by visiting www.eatright.org and clicking on “Find a Registered Dietitian.
I’m Connie Diekman, RDN – Happy Nutrition Month!