By Amanda Seguin, Dietetic Intern
Today marks the first day of National Nutrition Month 2012!! Let’s celebrate our career (or in my case, my future career)!
Many people do not know what a dietitian is or what we do; when I tell people I’m a dietetic intern, I know what’s coming next…”A what intern?” Even after explaining I’m basically studying nutrition, most people assume I’m helping other people eat more fruits and vegetables, or that I’m a health freak. The next thing they ask is if I can make a diet for them because they need to lose a few pounds. While I’ll gladly help, I have to explain there is more that goes into a diet plan than listing some healthy foods they should eat. When I describe what I would need from them, I watch as their eyes glaze over because they had no idea what they were getting into.
What really grinds my gears is when people say I’m a nutritionist. Granted I’m still a student, however, I would like for people to realize that we have a specialized knowledge of the science of nutrition. We learn so much about anatomy/physiology and pathophysiology, have a supervised practice experience, then have to pass an exam in order to be a registered dietitian; it’s not all the fun and games of ‘eat this, not that’.
Below are the Registered Dietitian Day Key Messages I think we should use to remind ourselves about how awesome we are and to help others understand what we do:
- Registered Dietitians are the food and nutrition experts who can translate the science of nutrition into practical solutions for healthy living.
- Registered Dietitians have degrees in nutrition, dietetics, public health or a related field from well-respected, accredited colleges and universities, completed an internship and passed an examination.
- Registered Dietitians use their nutrition expertise to help individuals make unique, positive lifestyle changes.
- Registered Dietitians work throughout the community in hospitals, schools, public health clinics, nursing homes, fitness centers, food management, food industry, universities, research and private practice.
- Registered Dietitians are advocates for advancing the nutritional status of Americans and people around the world.
Let’s get our plates in shape this month and spread the word about how awesome we are!