By Nina Crowley, MS, RD, LD
Happy Registered Dietitian Day Today!
The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (formerly known as the American Dietetic Association or ADA) has desiginated today as the fifth annual Registered Dietitian Day. It’s a good fit, as March is National Nutrition Month. With more than 70,000 members, the Academy is the world’s largest organization of food and nutrition professionals.
As the nation’s food and nutrition experts, registered dietitians (RDs) are committed to improving the health of their patients and community. Registered Dietitian Day commemorates the dedication of RDs as advocates for advancing the nutritional status of Americans and people around the world.
The goal of this particular day is to increase the awareness of registered dietitians as the indispensable providers of food and nutrition services and to recognize RDs for their commitment to helping people enjoy healthy lives. RDs are the most valuable and credible source of timely, scientifically-based food and nutrition information.
As a Registered Dietitian, I find that most people do not know what we really do! Many consider us the ‘food police’ or someone who wants to take your favorite foods away from you. At dinner parties, we try not to announce that we are a dietitian, since everyone will instantly judge what we are eating, or ask us whether this diet or that diet could help them lose weight.
What RDs actually do best is translate the science of nutrition into practical solutions for an individual to live healthfully, no matter what their health goals are. These days, there is so much nutritional information out there online, in blogs, facebook pages, twitter feeds, and even at your local gym, it is so hard to keep up with the latest trends in health. That’s where we come in! It is our job to take the science, your health goals, and your own unique food likes, dislikes and preferences, and help you come up with a plan that you can follow.
RDs work throughout the community in hospitals, schools, public health clinics, nursing homes, fitness centers, food management, food industry, universities, research and private practice. South Carolina (like many other states), requires licensure of RDs to protect the health of the public. RDs must graduated from an accredited university for their undergraduate training, complete an eight to 24 month dietetic internship with more than 1,200 hours of supervised practice and pass a national examination.
So next time you think about getting healthy, look for the expert: a Registered Dietitian! Remember, people who do not have the ‘RD’ behind their name are generally unlicensed and may be infringing on the RD’s scope of practice. You can learn more about licensure here, or check out all the free resources available through all the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics website.
Nina Crowley, MS, RD, LD, is a Sodexo Dietitian working with patients who have weight loss surgery at MUSC. Nina also is the President-Elect of the South Carolina Dietetic Association, and past president of the Charleston Trident Dietetic Association. She is very involved at the local and state level and works as part of the public policy panel to promote RDs. Feel free to contact her for all things RD at email@example.com.
At MUSC, Sodexo Nutrition Services employs about 30 Registered Dietitians – to find out more, check out their website.