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March is National Nutrition Month!

What is National Nutrition Month?

National Nutrition Month is an annual campaign to highlight the importance of healthy eating and to promote registered dietitians as a source of credible, sound nutrition information. This campaign, designed by the American Dietetic Association, began in March 1973 as a week-long event and became a month-long promotion in 1980.

Who are registered dietitians?

Registered dietitians (RD) are food and nutrition experts who translate the science of nutrition into practical recommendations for healthy lifestyle habits. Dietitians use evidence-based strategies to support health-promoting eating and activity behaviors for individuals and communities. RDs are qualified health care practitioners who have completed the coursework and clinical experiences necessary to provide nutrition care services. Most states require licensing of dietitians, which assures the public that nutrition advice is being given by professionals with the necessary expertise.

What is the role of registered dietitians?

With increasing awareness of the importance of nutrition in disease prevention and treatment, the role of the RD has expanded over the past three decades. Dietitians are integral members of the health care team in clinical and community settings, such as hospitals, clinics, extended care facilities, and public health programs. They also assume administrative roles in food service sites, such as hospitals, schools, and restaurants. Other employment opportunities include academic, research, and sales positions. More recently, dietitians have gained recognition and success as media spokespersons, small business owners, and consultants for industry, sports teams, and organizations.

What is the American Dietetic Association?

The American Dietetic Association (ADA) is the world’s largest organization of food and nutrition professionals. The ADA website has a wealth of publications and resources for its members. Consumers also can access nutrition information, such as nutrition fact sheets and lists of recommended nutrition books. By clicking on “Find a Nutrition Professional” on the home page, you can locate a registered dietitian near you.

The theme for the 2008 National Nutrition Month is “Nutrition: It’s a Matter of Fact” with an emphasis on making informed choices for healthy lifestyles.

If you have special nutritional needs due to a medical condition, if you are pregnant or lactating, if you are a vegan, or if you just want to improve your eating habits, you may benefit by visiting a dietitian for a personalized food plan that meets your needs and preferences. A registered dietitian can help you modify your lifestyle habits, achieve a healthy weight, and reduce your risk of chronic disease.

This article originally appeared in Nutri-bytes (March 2008), a service of the University of Cincinnati College of Nursing and was adapted for use on NetWellness with permission.

For more information:

Go to the Diet and Nutrition health topic.