With the problem of obesity having reached almost epidemic proportions all over the world the dietician is becoming an increasingly important figure in the world of medicine. Obesity is acknowledged to be a significant contributing factor to the development of heart disease, Type 2 diabetes and even some cancers. A dietician is the individual responsible for helping individuals of all ages and with all kinds of medical problems maintain a healthy diet.
What Does a Dietician Really Do?
Once their training is over a licensed dietician can find employment in a wide range of settings. Their major role is to perform personalized diet and nutritional screenings and assessments.
A nutritional screening usually takes into account gender, age, height, weight and BMI as well as any underlying medical conditions that already exist. An assessment is usually a little more in depth with the patient being asked a number of questions about their past eating habits and medical history and a number of lab tests being ordered to build up an even clearer picture of the patient’s true dietary requirements.
After all the tests and assessments have been completed the dietician works with the patient to devise a healthy and reasonable diet plan that will benefit their health in the long term as well as helping them develop a plan to end potentially damaging addictions to smoking or alcohol.
Although clinics and hospitals are the primary employers of dieticians they are also hired by schools, nursing homes and other residential care facilities so the dietician may find themselves working with a wide cross section of the population and with people with a variety of different health concerns.
Dieticians in Specialist Care Settings
Other dieticians assist those with even more specialized feeding needs – those who are receiving their nutrition via tube feedings such as premature babies, injury or burn victims or those with illnesses that impair their ability to eat normally.
Achieving the correct balance of nutrients is essential for these patients very survival so the dietician plays a huge role in their everyday care, working alongside their primary care physicians, surgeons and nursing staff.