Snapshot: A dietician translates scientific information about nutrition into practical advice to help people make health-conscious decisions about food.
Qualifications: Students opting for a career in Dietetics and Nutrition study Home-Science / Dietetics and Nutrition / Food Science / Food Technology courses at the Graduate and Postgraduate levels.
Job Description: A dietician’s services are solicited by corporate catering firms, pharmaceutical firms, hospitals, health/wellness centres, beauty spas, fitness centres, weight loss clinics, or other healthcare facilities. Alternately, you can work as an independent consultant.
As a dietician, you will assess, diagnose and treat diet-related problems among your clients; while also educating them about the link between food and health. You will study the client’s current eating patterns,and suggest alternative diet plans based on your calculations of the patient’s nutritional requirements and relevant health conditions (such as diabetes, for example). You will also motivate your client to stick to the diet plan, and not give in to temptation.
Extensive Knowledge: While you will learn extensively about the appropriate sources of nutrients and supplements during your course, the differentiating factor will be your ability to translate this theoretical knowledge into recommendations, keeping in mind the local cuisine preferences and availability of food sources.
Interpersonal Skills: Several dieticians make the mistake of speaking too sternly with their clients, which may hurt the patient; and can make him/her defensive. You should be able to motivate your client without being rude. You need to be sociable and strike the balance between being approachable and authoritative when you offer advice and feedback.
Communication Skills: While you have studied the complex and highly technical aspects of food; as a dietician, you should be able to simplify the information for your client. Ultimately, dieticians are the guardians of a very precious commodity – health!