In continuing to celebrate National Nutrition Month, today is National Registered Dietitian Day! Registered Dietitians (RD) are the food and nutrition experts who are committed to helping their patients live a happier and healthier lifestyle by choosing the right foods to fuel the body. RDs translate nutrition science into recommendations for living a healthy lifestyle.
A popular question is, “What is the difference between a dietitian and nutritionist?” Anyone (educated or not) can call themselves a nutritionist due to the lack of state or federal regulations. In contrast, dietitians have completed a minimum of a bachelor’s degree, an accredited supervised practice internship and have passed a national exam. RDs are bound by a code of ethics written by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics and are also required to complete continuing education.
Dietitians can be found in hospitals, nursing homes, doctors’ offices, community centers, food banks, and the list goes on. For example, if you or a family member were ever a patient at Magee, you (or your loved one) saw a dietitian within the first couple of days of admission. As dietitians, our primary role is to make sure each patient is eating adequately and following the recommended diet. We also provide education for various diets such as heart health, diabetes, and kidney disease.
Everyone can make a few lifestyle changes, big or small, to be healthier. A registered dietitian can assist you in making those changes and will help you stay motivated. The first step is to check with your insurance company to find out what nutrition services are covered. The insurance company may give you a dietitian’s contact information or you visit this website to find a dietitian near you.