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What is a Registered Dietitian?

Originated by: Laura Wilson

Submitted: 28 Feb 2012

Last updated on: 28 Feb 2012

Related Health Topics:

Overview

A registered dietitian is a food and nutrition expert who has met the minimum academic and professional requirements to qualify for the credential "RD." In addition to RD credentialing, many states have regulatory laws for dietitians and nutrition practitioners. State requirements frequently are met through the same education and training required to become an RD.

RDs work in healthcare settings such as hospitals, healthcare practices and nursing homes as part of a care team. In this role, their focus is to support the treatment or prevention of disease. RDs can also work in private industry and other settings as well.

What are the qualifications to be an RD?

A registered dietitian is a food and nutrition expert who has met academic and professional requirements including:

  • Earned a bachelor's degree with course work approved by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics' Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics (ACEND). Coursework typically includes food and nutrition sciences, foodservice systems management, business, economics, computer science, sociology, biochemistry, physiology, microbiology and chemistry.
  • Completed an accredited, supervised practice program at a health-care facility, community agency or foodservice corporation.
  • Passed a national examination administered by the Commission on Dietetic Registration.
  • Completes continuing professional educational requirements to maintain registration.

 

Working with patients to support outcomes

Medical Nutrition Therapy improves patient outcomes, quality of life and lowers health-care costs. Medicare covers outpatient MNT provided by registered dietitians for beneficiaries with diabetes, chronic renal insufficiency/end-stage renal disease (non-dialysis renal disease) or post kidney transplant. Many other private insurance companies also cover MNT services for a variety of conditions and diseases. The Institute of Medicine identifies registered dietitians as qualified professionals for nutrition therapy.

Citations

Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics: Become and RD or DTR http://www.eatright.org/BecomeanRDorDTR/content.aspx?id=8142

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