Careers in the field of Diet and Nutrition

Posted by Rashi Mundhra on Sat, May 12, 2012  
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Diet and nutrition is an upcoming field in today’s world. With the rise in the problems related to overweight, obesity, malnutrition and underweight, diet does play a play a major role in rectifying these disorders along with a few changes in the lifestyle. India today is suffering a dual burden of malnutrition which includes both underweight and overweight.

Overweight alone has a lot of complications related to it. Today majority of people are suffering from obesity which is an immediate complication of being overweight. The other disorders related to overweight are cardio vascular problems which include atherosclerosis, hypertension, cardiac failure; diabetes mellitus more commonly Non Insulin Dependent Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus; psychological problems; sleep disorders; infertility; increased degenerative diseases; gall bladder disease; cancer; back pain, arthritis or gout; syndrome X which consists of more than three metabolic complications prevalent together in an individual which includes increased abdominal circumference, hypertension, dyslipidemia, glucose intolerance, insulin resistance. This is about the complications associated with overweight and obesity; now let’s have a look at the complications associated with underweight. The complications of underweight include fatigue; lethargy; breathlessness; iron deficiency anemia; severe protein deficiency leading to edema; high risk of infection; hip fracture; constipation to name a few.

The lifestyle of the people is also changing. In our ancestral times, people were engaged more in physical activities rather than sedentary lifestyles. Today’s generation is the so called TV generation due to which people are suffering from the couch potato syndrome. The incidence of obesity is increasing in children today due to less physical activity and indulging more into viewing television, playing video games and sitting back at home at home always. Kids today are reluctant to go to play outside so the level of physical activity is very low. The changes have been more towards the sedentary lifestyle. A very nice saying says that “All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy”. It’s a very good saying which reflects that along with work engaging in physical activities is also very important. The fast moving generation today, WE fail to realize the importance of play and physical in our tight work schedule that we all have. Nobody finds time for physical activity all people know is WORK, FOOD and SLEEP. Also people are engaged in other lifestyle habits like smoking and alcohol is on rise.

The dietary habits of people are also changing. Today people consume more of fat laden foods. The consumption of fried foods is high. Consumption of saturated fats like butter, cream and cheese are on the higher side. Due to the busy schedule, people have no or less time to cook due to which the dependence on processed and ready to eat foods is increasing. People relish eating junk food. There is little or no consumption of fresh fruits and vegetables which are a good source of vitamins and minerals in the diet.

Due to all the above mentioned reasons, the role of a nutritionist or a dietician is becoming more important day by day. Unlike the previous times today a lot of importance is given to healthy eating habits to prevent the consequences of both underweight and overweight. The careers in the field of nutrition and dietetics can be as follows:

  1. Dietician: The most important role of a dietician is in the hospitals. The role of a dietician is to treat the disease condition the person has landed in. When a person shows various signs and symptoms progressing into a particular disease is where the role of the dietician comes into the picture. As a dietician, you can work in hospitals; private clinics; set up your own clinics; under professional doctors.
  2. Nutritionist: The role of a nutritionist is majorly community based. Their role is in prevention of a disease. It focuses on maintaining the good health of the individuals of the community. There is a saying “Prevention is better than cure.” This is what exactly the role of a nutritionist is.
  3. Lecturer: You can choose teaching as a career option. If you are keen in expanding your knowledge by a two way learning process that is by sharing your knowledge with the students and gaining knowledge from them. Your experience will teach them and their knowledge or doubts probably to say will grow you as an individual.
  4. Research and Development: You can also get into research related firms where you can research on the food nutrients and other things related to food.
  5. Food Technologist: You can also choose a career in food technology where in you can work in different food related companies and can test their food or probably even develop products like baby foods or nutritional supplements.
  6. Fitness Consultant: As a dietician, you can work in a fitness centre which emphasizes mainly on weight management. Prescribing diets for losing or gaining weight and achieving the targets for the clients.
  7. Corporate Dietician: This is all about working in a corporate set up where you improve the nutritional status of the employees so that the work productivity is enhanced and they are enthusiastic always about work.
  8. Institutional Catering: This is related to working to plan nutritional well balanced meals for schools, colleges, offices, restaurants and such other set ups.
  9. Community Nutrition: This is related to improving the health of the community members. The low socio economic groups should be benefited as well with good, safe, hygienic; proper eating habits and knowledge related to the same. Here the focus is on improving the health of the underprivileged.

The scope today in this field is huge and with the advancement in the technology and knowledge the scope is going to further expand and increase in the times to come. It’s a good choice to take up nutrition and dietetics as a career option. Also the scope of it is immense in the countries abroad as well. The options available as a career option after nutrition and dietetics are also quite many. You can choose any one depending on your field of interest and personal choices.

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