With March being National Nutrition Month and today being National Registered Dietitian Day, it is extremely fitting that a new horizon for the professionals was debuted.
The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (formerly the American Dietetic Association) works diligently protecting dietitians (RD) and the services they provide. Nutrition is one of those sciences where many people think they know it all and it becomes a fuzzy line for the general public to know who they can really count on for solid advice! Is it your personal trainer, your doctor, the employees at Natural Grocers? Who really is the expert? While in certain cases these individuals do have a solid background in nutrition, that is not always the case if they are not an RD! The term “registered dietitian” is a protected credential that signifies that one has met the necessary requirements and should be the one giving nutrition related information. Because the term “dietitian” is not always understood by the general population the term “nutritionist” might make more sense to use. Now, while all dietitians are nutritionists – not all nutritionists are dietitians. The term “nutritionist” can be used by anyone. So yes, even your grandpa could call himself a nutritionist (which might be a scary thought…) and no one could stop him! The Academy recently devised a plan to incorporate the term “nutritionist” into the well accepted term of “registered dietitian”. Now, dietitians will have the option to use the credential, “registered dietitian nutritionist” or RDN, or maintain the previous option of RD. To read more about the new credential, click here.
With so many new changes on the horizon for dietitians, it makes that much more exciting to be apart of this ever changing field. Just 30 years ago, dietetics was often associated with home economics, and today it becoming more and more of a true science. In the near future it is likely that all RD’s (or RDN’s) will be required to have a master’s degree on top of the previous requirements of a bachelor’s degree and an internship, according to the 2012 Visioning Report from the Academy. To get more information on the qualifications for an RD, click here.
What are your thoughts on the future educational requirements for dietitians and the addition of the new credential?