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In Honor of Registered Dietitians Day: A Brief history of Dietetics

Posted Mar 17 2009 4:25am


The word diet stems from the Greek Diaita meaning way of life. Teachings of Nutrition and how it relates to health date back to ancient times, the Egyptian Imhotep made accounts of food being used as medicine some 6000 years ago. The Ancient Chinese Emperor Huang Ti and the Indian Ayurevedic traditions also document the use of nutrition as part of the path to good health some 2500 ago.
It was also discussed among the great Greek and Roman philosophers. However the Science of Nutrition really started to come to the forefront during the Renaissance and so called period of the Enlightenment, in 18th Century Europe. Scientists become fascinated by the majesty of the human body.

During WW1 and WW II Nutritional science and Government food policies were formed as a neccessity to preserve food supplies while maintaining the health of the Nation. In fact John Boyd Orr got a nobel prize for his work during this period. It is worth noting that health improved during this period and rates of heart disease and cancer declined.

The British Dietetic Association was formed in 1936 and was granted patronage by Elizabeth II in 1983.
The American Dietetic Association was formed in 1917 in Cleveland Ohio led by Lenna F Cooper and a group of women. They were dedicated to conserving food and improving health during WWI.

Some nearly 100 years later the vision of leading dietetics and improving health is still the same. Dietitians are a wonderful and caring group of individuals who choose a career of translating the science of nutrition into everyday advice. In order to improve and restore peoples health.

So lets take the time to Honor Dietitians across the World as we mark Registered Dietitians Day March 11th.
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