Happy second week of March! Last week I mentioned that March is National Nutrition Month®. This week, Wednesday March 11 is Registered Dietitian Day!
Registered Dietitian Day was created by the American Dietetic Association to increase the public and media’s awareness of registered dietitians as thefood and nutrition experts; indispensable providers of food and nutrition services who can translate the science of nutrition into practical information, and to recognize RDs for their commitment to helping people enjoy healthy lives.
What qualifies RDs to call themselves the food and nutrition experts? MANY HOURS of education and supervised practical experiences.
RDs have, at a minimum, a bachelor’s of science degree in nutrition, dietetics, public health or a related field from accredited universities. Many also have advanced degrees. In addition, they are required to complete an internship “in the field” of about 1000 hours and covers all related to nutrition services (hospital work, food service, private practice, community nutrition, etc.).
Once they complete their internship, they must then pass a national written exam to become certified as a registered dietitian. Believe me, a lot goes into successfully completing an intership and passing this exam! Here in Texas, to become licensed you must also pass a jurisprudence exam (this means you know the laws regulating providers of nutrition services).
After doing all that, RDs must also obtain 15 hours of continuing education each year from accredited providers in order to keep their credentials.
O.k., so what do RDs do? While you may find some RDs working in school kitchens, do not confuse them as only “lunch ladies!” There are many different areas where RDs work, and they use their expertise in a variety of ways: interpreting scientific data, product development, menu analysis, and helping individuals make healthy lifestyle changes.
You will find RDs working in hospitals, nursing homes, medical clinics, fitness centers, schools, universities, restaurants, in the food industry, as well as in research and private practices. Many RDs are also authors, speakers, and media spokespersons. Shaq’s Big Challenge is an example of one TV show that utilized the skills of an RD to help children lose weight.
So this Wednesday, make sure you wish your favorite RD “Happy Registered Dietitian Day!”