Both dietitian and nutritionist, focus on and regulate what a person eats in order to help their clients lead a healthy lifestyle. Individuals usually seek the services of a dietician when their health has deteriorated or they are facing an illness. Dietitians assess, diagnose and treat dietary and nutritional problems of people. They create customised diet plans and provide guidelines for food consumption to treat people and promote a healthy lifestyle. Nutritionist on the other hand, play more of a preventive role. They work towards advancing the understanding of how a good diet affects the health and well being of people. They provide information regarding the nutritional value of different foods and advise individuals regarding the proportion of different food groups that need to be included in one’s diet to achieve good health. It is not necessary that they deal with people suffering from some form of illness, rather they help individuals acquire good eating habits in order to avoid falling sick. The services of dietitians and nutritionists are in great demand in today’s day and age. People are leading fast paced lives and developing unhealthy eating habits. Professionals in this field help to modify and re-establish food habits by catering to individual diet needs and issues. They also keep clients motivated and engaged during the process enabling them to achieve personal goals and promote overall well being.
Some of the prospective jobs under this field are:
- Clinical Nutrition/Dietitian: They provide their services to patients in a clinical set up taking into account their protein, minerals and vitamin levels.
- Pediatric Nutrition Specialist:They look after the nutritional needs of children in a variety of settings such as hospitals, clinics, child carecenters, schools etc.
- Public Health Nutritionist: He/she focuses on the promotion of good health through nutrition and the prevention of nutrition related illness in the population.
- Food Science/Technology: Dietitians and nutritionists can conduct research and provide expertise in different roles pursuing a career in food science.
- Sports & Health Dietitian:They look after the dietary requirements of sportsperson and work with other professionals such as fitness trainers to devise a diet chart to improve the level of fitness/health of a person.
- Gerontological Nutritionist/Dietitian: They help to plan and maintain a healthy diet for elderly patients. They also conduct research on food items and their role in preventing/treating different diseases.
Roles & Responsibilities
Certain duties attached to this field are:
- Assess, promote, protect and enhance the overall health of the general public.
- Assess the client’s nutritional need and develop and implement diet plan accordingly.
- Complete nutritional assessments and work with other professionals to devise a customised diet/nutrition plan.
- Develop meal plans in health care facilities, company cafeterias, prisons, schools etc.
- Provide strategies for prevention of diet-related diseases.
- Educate people about the nutritional requirements of the body and how to meet them.
- Conduct research to determine the nutritional value of different food items and their role in disease prevention.
- Enforce sanitary and safety regulations and prepare records & reports related to food services.
- Advise patients and their families on nutritional principles, dietary plans and diet modifications, food selection and preparation.
- Work with food processing and pharmaceutical companies to create high quality products by retaining their nutritional value and meeting food safety guidelines.
Given below are the desired qualities for professionals in this field:
- Strong theoretical background.
- Passionate about helping people.
- Need to be an active listener.
- Patient and empathetic towards clients.
- Good communication skills.
- Ability to motivate clients in a positive manner.
- Adequate planning and organisational skills.
How to get there
- Diploma in Nutrition and Health Education
- Diploma in Dietetics
- Diploma in Nutrition and Dietetics
- Diploma in Food Science and Nutrition
- Diploma in Dietetics and Clinical Nutrition
- Diploma in Nutrition and Food Technology
Clear 12th standard (any stream)
Entrance exam or merit based admission.
PG Degree or PG Diploma courses.
- B.Sc. in Clinical Nutrition
- B.Sc. in Nutrition and Dietetics
- B.Sc. in Food Science and Nutrition
- B.Sc. in Applied Nutrition
- B.Sc. in Dietetics
- B.Sc. in Home Science (Nutrition and Food Science specialization)
Clear 12th standard (science stream).
Entrance exam or merit based admission.
: 3 years.
PG Degree or PG Diploma courses
- M.Sc. Nutrition and dietetics
- M.Sc. Home Science
- Post-graduate Diploma in Nutrition and dietetics
or equivalent grade)
in Bachelor’s Degree
is for 2 years and PG Diploma course is for 1 year.