Good nutrition is one of the cornerstones of good health. Not only is nutrition important for overall health and the optimum functioning of the body, but a balanced diet is also key to maintaining a healthy weight.
Obesity is only one of the many nutrition-related conditions that dietitians treat. A dietitian can definitely play an invaluable role in a patient’s weight-loss journey, but that's not all they do.
A myriad of nutrition-related issues
The careers of dietitians are way more diverse than many people may think. The typical assumption is that a dietitian is a nutritional health professional available through private practice to those who need and can afford weight loss expertise. The reality couldn’t be more different.
Dietitians are employed across private practice and public healthcare; academia and research; and corporate, government and non-government sectors. While they all have the expertise to deal with weight loss and weight management, which can be critical health issues, their expertise in science-based nutrition means that they work far more widely on a myriad of nutrition-related issues.
As nutritional experts, dietitians work in many different fields to assess, diagnose and treat dietary and nutritional problems.
In support of Dietitian’s Week, which runs from the 3 to 7 June, ADSA, the Association for Dietetics in South Africa, is highlighting the wide range of services dietitians are specifically trained to deliver.
Besides consulting clients on weight loss and healthier eating plans, dietitians:
1. Assist patients in need of nutritional advice, not only those who wish to lose weight
Dietitians don’t only help those who wish to lose weight, but also assist a wide variety of patients who need nutritional therapy. Someone who is suddenly diagnosed with a chronic illness may need a lifestyle overhaul and better nutrition to manage the condition. Someone with severe food allergies may also benefit from a dietitian’s advice, enabling them to eat optimally while sticking to the foods they're allowed to consume.
2. Form an integral part of a hospital setting
We may assume that dietitians only practice privately, but this is not true. Many dietitians work in a public or private hospital setting where they're consulted by in- and outpatients. They assess patients and individualise medical nutrition therapy as a key part of their care.
3. Work and consult in food services
Dietitians manage healthy and specialised diets for persons in institutions such as schools and universities where mass catering is provided. They also consult in the food, nutrition, healthcare and pharmaceutical industries.
4. Do valuable research
When dietitians are not consulting, they are actively contributing to the industry by doing medical research in their field. This research is important as they provide evidence that can help establish medical guidelines.
The verdict? If you feel like you need guidelines in terms of nutrition, consulting a dietitian might be of great value. Visit ASDA to find a registered dietitian in your area, or visit our dedicated Health24 experts at Nutritional Solutions.
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