nutritionists plan food and nutrition programs, supervise meal preparation,
and oversee the serving of meals. They prevent and treat illnesses by
promoting healthy eating habits and recommending dietary modifications. For
example, dietitians might teach a patient with high blood pressure how to
use less salt when preparing meals, or create a diet reduced in fat and
sugar for an overweight patient.
Dietitians manage food service systems for institutions such
as hospitals and schools, promote sound eating habits through education,
and conduct research. Many dietitians specialize, becoming a clinical
dietitian, community dietitian, management dietitian, or consultant.
dietitians provide nutritional services to patients in hospitals, nursing
care facilities, and other institutions. They assess patients' nutritional
needs, develop and implement nutrition programs, and evaluate and report
the results. They also confer with doctors and other health care
professionals to coordinate medical and nutritional needs. Some clinical
dietitians specialize in managing the weight of overweight patients or in
the care of renal (kidney), diabetic, or critically ill patients. In
addition, clinical dietitians in nursing care facilities, small hospitals,
or correctional facilities may manage the food service department.
Community dietitians counsel individuals and groups on
nutritional practices designed to prevent disease and promote health.
Working in places such as public health clinics, home health agencies, and
health maintenance organizations, community dietitians evaluate individual
needs, develop nutritional care plans, and instruct individuals and their
families. Dietitians working in home health agencies provide instruction on
grocery shopping and food preparation to the elderly, children, and
individuals with special needs.
Increased public interest in nutrition has led to job
opportunities in food manufacturing, advertising, and marketing. In these
areas, dietitians analyze foods, prepare literature for distribution, or
report on issues such as dietary fiber, vitamin supplements, or the
nutritional content of recipes.
Management dietitians oversee large-scale meal planning and
preparation in health care facilities, company cafeterias, prisons, and
schools. They hire, train, and direct other dietitians and food service
workers; budget for and purchase food, equipment, and supplies; enforce
sanitary and safety regulations; and prepare records and reports.
Consultant dietitians work under contract with health care
facilities or in their own private practice. They perform nutrition
screenings for their clients and offer advice on diet-related concerns such
as weight loss and cholesterol reduction. Some work for wellness programs,
sports teams, supermarkets, and other nutrition-related businesses. They
may consult with food service managers, providing expertise in sanitation,
safety procedures, menu development, budgeting, and planning.
Note: Some resources in this section are provided by the US
Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor