What is a nutritionist and why do people need them? A nutritionist is a person whose primary concern is to improve peoples’ physical and mental health by incorporating improvements in their diet. They are well-educated in all aspects of nutrition and understand that a proper diet can actually prevent or treat certain illnesses. Nutritionists have the opportunity to find employment in various venues including hospitals, outpatient facilities, nursing homes, government institutions, food production facilities and more.
Nutritionists are able to improve the health of their patients by first evaluating a person’s diet and then making carefully assessed recommendations on how that person may improve his/her dietary intake. Often, this includes creating a specialized diet based on a particular person’s general health, preexisting medical conditions, age, medical history, weight, medications taken and many other factors.
Specializing in certain fields is also an option for nutritionists. When someone asks the question, “What is a nutritionist?”, there are many possible answers. Some nutritionists specialize on how nutrition affects a certain disease while others may be concerned only with the effects that the intake of cholesterol or fatty acids have on the human body.
Nutritionists involved with public health in the community are concerned with improving the health of entire populations and are actively involved with specific programs such as preventing childhood obesity or improving the diet of pregnant women. The food industry offers employment to nutritionists by developing new food products or by interpreting research information and using that data to create new food or nutritional food products. Fitness industry nutritionists develop new diet aids and programs to assist consumers in achieving their individual fitness goals. This is especially important for professional athletes.
The educational requirements to become a nutritionist include a bachelor’s degree in food service system management, dietetics or food and nutrition. Specific courses in the areas of food, nutrition, chemistry, biochemistry, microbiology, physiology, biology, and institution management must also be taken and sufficiently passed.
The bureau of Labor Statistics reports that the median salary of nutritionists in May 2006 was $46,980 and it is much higher now. The highest salaries were paid by hospitals and outpatient care facilities while the lowest salary earned in the field was working for the local government.
When asking the question, “What is a nutritionist?” the answer is simple – many things! It is a person that enjoys helping others to improve their quality of life, a person that makes a difference, a person that cares. Nutritionists enjoy a stable work environment and are