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Registered Dietitian

Find a Registered Dietitian in Chicago

Dietitians (often incorrectly spelled dietician) are experts in food and nutrition. Dietitians help promote good health through proper eating. They also supervise the preparation and service of food, develop modified diets, participate in research, and educate individuals and groups on good nutritional habits. The goals of the dietary department are to obtain, prepare, and serve flavorsome, attractive, and nutritious food to patients, family members, and health care providers.

The majority of dietitians are clinical, or therapeutic, dietitians. Clinical dietitians review medical charts and talk with patients' families. They work with other health care professionals and community groups to provide nourishment, nutritional programs and instructional presentations to benefit people of all ages, and with a variety of health conditions. This is accomplished by developing individual plans to meet nutritional needs. These plans include nourishment, tube feedings (called enteral nutrition), intravenous feedings (called parenteral nutrition) such as total parenteral nutrition (TPN) or peripheral parenteral nutrition (PPN), diets, and education. Clinical dietitians provide individual and group educational programs for patients and family members about their nutrition and health.

In the US, nutrition professionals include the registered dietitian (RD) and the dietetic technician, registered (DTR). These terms, as well as simply dietitian, are legally protected terms regulated by the American Dietetic Association (ADA). Some RDs or DTRs call themselves nutritionists. However, the term nutritionist is not regulated, as dietitian is.

In the U.S., dietitians are registered with the Commission on Dietetic Registration (the certifying agency of the ADA) and are only able to use the label "Registered Dietitian" when they have met strict, specific educational and professional prerequisites and passed a national registration examination.



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