Dietitian’s Day! What does a dietitian do?

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Today is Dietitian’s Day!

Today celebrate the work dietitians do to make Australia a healthier, happier society. So what exactly does a dietitian do?

A dietitian can work in many different areas – schools, governments, hospitals, the food industry or in Corporate health. We could be designing gluten-free menus one day, and advocating for less sugar in food the next.

An Accredited Practising Dietitian is the only health professional legally allowed to give individualised meal plans to people. This is because of the intensive study to understand a person’s background. Their background includes medical history, food preferences, allergies and health goals.

To become an Accredited Practising Dietitian, it takes at least four years of study in an accredited course. We also undertake at least 30 hours of extra research every year to maintain our qualifications. However, as I am an absolute #nutritionnerd, I study at least an hour a day on all this health and nutrition.

Dietitian or Nutritionist?

The Dietitian Association of Australia explains: In Australia, there is a distinction made between dietitians and other occupations in the nutrition and food science field, including that of a nutritionist.

A nutritionist is a tertiary qualified nutrition professional that has the expertise to provide a range of evidence-based nutrition services. This includes general nutrition, public health nutrition, policy and research, and community health. There is no industry-specific authority assessing the qualifications of nutritionists who are not dietitians.

Dietitians are also qualified to provide this range of evidence-based nutrition services, but also, dietitians have the expertise to offer individual dietary counselling, medical nutrition therapy, group nutritional therapy and food service management. A dietitian has undertaken a course of study that included substantial theory and supervised and assessed professional practice in clinical nutrition, medical nutrition therapy and food service management.

Accredited Practising Dietitians are the gold standard in Australia. Neither ‘Dietitian’ or ‘Nutritionist’ are regulated.

 Written by Sanchia Parker (Seed and Kilter)

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