The energy you need to get through the day comes from the food you eat.
Dietitians give expert advice on how to eat to stay healthy.
Dietitians raise people's awareness of how a good diet and good health
go hand in hand. Their area of expertise is the effect of food on the human
"It's an opportunity to have a bit of intervention and do something that
I'm passionate about," says dietitian Daniel Tisi. People interested in this
field should have a strong interest in the biological sciences, foods and
nutrition. Being able to communicate and work well with others is also important,
since most dietitians work closely with other professionals, clients or students.
"You have the opportunity to help people with some serious issues, like
more serious nutritional issues, whether it's obesity or an eating disorder
or maybe even people who are limited because of allergies," says Tisi.
"I really enjoy helping people to actually improve their life as far as
preventative care goes," says Mindy Black. She's a registered dietitian. "Instead
of people having to get on medication for heart disease or stay in a hospital,
I help them stay away from heart disease and diabetes and all that kind of
A dietitian's knowledge and skills can be used in a variety of settings.
Dietitians work in all sectors of the economy. They work in hospitals, nursing
care facilities, schools, restaurants, government health departments, the
military, police forces and large food corporations.
Dietitians may also work as educators in television and radio. Or they
may work at universities and colleges. Those who work as researchers and teachers
may be employed by research clinics, pharmaceutical companies and food companies.
Many dietitians are self-employed. Their clients might include hospitals,
nursing care facilities and individuals seeking dietary counselling.
Dietitian training can lead to many different roles and opportunities.
Diana Steele is a good example.
"I particularly like the variety of jobs that I do within my practice,"
says Steele. "Because [I am] in private practice, I see individuals for nutrition
counselling, but I also do speaking engagements and I'm in the media." Steele
appears on a noon-hour news show once a week. She also writes newsletters
and has co-authored a cookbook.
A dietitian may work in the following roles:
Some dietitians choose to work abroad for international agencies, to help
developing countries improve their knowledge of nutrition.
Working conditions may vary greatly because of the wide variety of employers.
Consultants may be required to travel a lot, while dietitians who work in
hospitals may be required to work on weekends or holidays.
It helps to be a people person, says dietitian Kristine Van Workum.
"I enjoy doing the outpatient counseling that I do because I can establish
a rapport and a relationship with the patients that I work with," says Van
Workum. "I can help guide them and also bring more awareness to health and
wellness and disease prevention for people who are overweight and trying to
manage their medical conditions."
Some dietitians spend their workdays on their feet while others spend much
of their time sitting.
If you're thinking of becoming a dietitian, it helps to be in good health
-- not just as a representative of a healthy profession, but because it's
helpful in a fairly high-energy career.
Want a quick overview of what
this career is about? Check out
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Help people eat and live better
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Dietitians and Nutritionists
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