Every March, the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics celebrates National Nutrition Month and Registered Dietitian Nutritionist Day. Here is what you need to know:
A registered dietitian or registered dietitian nutritionist is a food and nutrition expert. Registered dietitians must earn a bachelor's degree by completing extensive coursework required by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. They also must complete supervised practice in an accredited dietetic internship and pass a national examination. Registered dietitians, like many other health professionals, must also complete ongoing professional education to maintain their status as registered. Simply put, a registered dietitian has extensive training and competency in nutrition.
The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics is the professional practice group for registered dietitians. The academy is also home to the Commission on Dietetic Registration that enforces the Professional Code of Ethics for Registered Dietitians. The academy advocates on behalf of nutrition legislative policy and promotes evidence-based nutrition practices. This means any nutrition information a registered dietitian provides is backed up by research findings.
National Nutrition Month is an annual nutrition education and information campaign created by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. The campaign, celebrated each year during the month of March, focuses attention on the importance of making informed food choices and developing sound eating and physical activity habits.
Registered dietitians are here to provide individualized care to meet the diverse needs of all people, including those who are trying to optimize their nutrition, athletes trying to optimize performance; those striving to manage their chronic condition (such as diabetes, heart disease or kidney disease) through nutrition, and others. This month, or any time of year, reach out to a registered dietitian to get the assistance you need for your diet and nutrition needs.
Finally, as a registered dietitian, I want everyone to know I picked the field of nutrition and dietetics based on a love of food. I became a dietitian so that I can help people find joy in eating and find diet and lifestyle patterns that work in the context of their lives and that address their concerns. So, please join me in celebrating nutrition and the joy it brings to peoples' lives for the month of March.
Katherine Burr MS, RD, LD, is an outpatient dietitian at Capital Region Medical Center where she enjoys teaching others about nutrition in disease management and the joy of food in everyday life. Visit her website at KatherineBurrRD.com.