Like most health care disciplines, nutrition includes aspects of many basic sciences:
- food science
In addition, nutrition includes the effects of environment, disease, infections, medication, and trauma on metabolism. Nutritionists incorporate this knowledge into the assessment of the nourishment of individuals and groups, and then use educational and counseling techniques to develop and implement recommendations for change.
The nutritionist who works with children with special health care needs has training in pediatric nutrition. This includes an understanding of:
- typical growth and development
- feeding skills
- nutrient requirements for growth and development
- special health care needs
- effects of medical conditions (including physical and metabolic problems and medications) on nutritional status
Who Provides Nutrition Services?
Nutrition services are provided by Registered Dietitians (RDs) or Registered Dietitians Nutritionists (RDNs). RDs or RDNs work in a variety of settings (see below). Depending on the institution or organization, their job title may include the terms "nutritionist" or "dietitian." More information about the requirements for the RD credential can be found in the Training and Certification section of this module. At CHDD RDs or RDNs are called nutritionists.
Services Provided in a Variety of Settings
Nutritionists provide services in a variety of settings. For example, some nutritionists provide clinical services in a hospital setting, overseeing parenteral and enteral nutrition of critically-ill individuals. Other nutritionists work in health departments, developing broad nutrition-related educational messages for communities. Still other nutritionists work as managers, supervising the food service aspect of care in hospitals, schools, and other institutions.
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