Why is there a RDN Day?
The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics created Registered Dietitian Nutritionist Day in 2008 to raise awareness for Registered Dietitian Nutritionists (RDN) as invaluable providers of food and nutrition services and to commemorate RDNs for their comment to helping people lead healthy lives and practice better nutrition. This year, RDN Day falls on March 9.
What is a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist?
Many people know the basics of healthy food. Registered dietitians go far beyond that! RDNs hold degrees in nutrition, dietetics, public health, or other a related field from an accredited college or university. RDNs must also completed an internship and pass an examination. Many RDNs also have advanced college degrees or additional certifications like oncology (cancer) nutrition. RDNs are food experts who can translate the science of nutrition into practical solutions.
RDN’s can be especially helpful for cancer survivors. Malnutrition is the second highest dietary diagnosis for cancer survivors. Malnutrition can cause breaks in treatment which make the treatment less effective. If you have a cancer diagnosis, it’s a smart idea to talk to an RDN about any nutritional concerns or for general nutrition advice.
In the last few years, RDNs have made great steps in turning nutrition science into valuable tools for people to use to make healthy food choices. Some examples include:
- Using carbohydrate counting plans which help people with diabetes safely enjoy favorite foods
- Writing recipe books with dishes that use less than 7 ingredients to cook healthier with less effort
- Understanding research on neutropenia to find useful food safety tips to avoid foodborne illness
- Creating eating out guides that help people make sensible restaurant choices
- Establishing food delivery systems in hospitals to deliver healthy food that also tastes good
- Translating difficult nutrition messages into easily understood information
- Training schedules for athletic and endurance events with the right food and fluid plans
- Using food to meet nutritional needs, instead of depending on dietary supplements
- Breaking down eating barriers during cancer treatment by using simple strategies
- Creating methods to add extra calories and protein to meals during cancer treatments
- Making eating more enjoyable even when patients don’t feel their best
- Creating personal healthy eating plans to match special calorie and nutrition goals
Where can I find a registered dietitian?
Registered dietitians often work in cancer centers, hospitals, community agencies, universities, schools, private practices, or in doctors’ offices, just to name a few places. As the nation’s food and nutrition experts, registered dietitians are committed to improving the health of their patients and community in many different forms.
Circle Wednesday March 9th on your calendar now. Say thanks to a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist who has helped to improve your health or who made a positive difference in the life of someone you know. Registered Dietitians are the best source for timely, scientifically-based nutrition information. If you have special food needs or just want to learn more, ask your healthcare team or go to eatright.org to find a registered dietitian in your area.