Julie Whittington, RD

Healthy tips from a Registered Dietitian

Registered Dietitian Day – A great time to consider meeting with an RD!

A common question I receive is, “What is the difference between a registered dietitian and a nutritionist?”  As a registered dietitian (RD), I am proud to highlight myself as both a dietitian and a nutritionist.  However, it is important to know that not all nutritionists are dietitians.  And, with Registered Dietitian Day occurring Wednesday, March 10th, and National Nutrition Month happening the whole month of March, it is a perfect time to know who an RD really is.

RDs have bachelor’s degrees (with about half of RDs holding advanced degrees, such as masters degrees) in nutrition, dietetics, public health or a related field, have completed an internship and passed a registration examination.  RDs also maintain continuing education requirements for recertification.  The “RD” credential is a legally protected title that can only be used by practitioners who are authorized by the Commission on Dietetic Registration of the American Dietetic Association.  The definition of “nutritionist” varies by state and in some states almost anyone can call himself/herself a nutritionist regardless of education or training.  For instance, someone who works at a vitamin shop could call themselves a “nutritionist”.

The American Dietetic Association has published the “Top Ten Reasons to See a Registered Dietitian”.  Consider the following to decide whether an RD can help you or a loved one (visit www.eatright.org/NNM/content.aspx?id=5189 for more specifics or if you have any questions):

  1. You have diabetes or cardiovascular disease.
  2. You are thinking of having gastric bypass surgery.
  3. You have digestive problems.
  4. You’re pregnant or trying to get pregnant.
  5. You need guidance and confidence for breastfeeding your baby.
  6. Your teenager has [or you have] issues with food and eating healthfully.
  7. You need to lose or gain weight.
  8. You’re caring for an aging parent.
  9. You want to eat smarter.

10. You want to improve your performance in sports.

Overall, RDs want to enable you to live your life more healthfully through education and encouragement.  As an RD myself, I hope to educate consumers on nutritional health and motivate individuals to make the changes or continued good choices in order to achieve optimal health.

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