Career In Nutrition: All Your Child Needs To Know

Is your child interested in the science of food and how it affects the body? Then, a career in nutrition may just be the right choice for her. We tell you all you need to know.

By Jasmine Kaur

Career In Nutrition: All Your Child Needs To Know

The famous American inventor Thomas Edison once said, “The doctor of the future will give no medicine, but will instruct his patient in the care of the human frame, in diet, and in the cause and prevention of disease.” While this is not entirely the case yet, today we see a lot of professionals who counsel people on how to maintain good health. If your child is interested in the science of food and how it affects the human body, nutritional science is a very lucrative career option she can look into.

What is the science of nutrition?

The science of nutrition is based on the understanding of how nutrients, and food in general, is linked to health, growth and reproduction in living beings. Here’s all your child will need to know before he decides to pursue a career in nutrition.

Jobs in nutrition

  • Clinical nutritionist: This profile involves working in clinical settings, where the nutritionist has to deal with patients and their families on a one-on-one basis to help them follow appropriate diet plans.
  • Corporate nutrition expert: Many large corporations that provide meals at office, hire nutritionists to make sure employees stay productive and healthy at work. The role of a corporate nutritionist involves providing her suggestions on the office canteen menu as well as conducting workshops on nutrition and wellness to ensure that employees are aware of the choices they make.
  • Community nutritionist: These are registered dietitians who explore and establish the best nutrition practices for a community. Here, a community can mean a school, community clinic, government agency or neighbourhood association. Experts working in this field are responsible for spreading awareness about nutrition, addressing specific sub-groups, and implementing interventions as per the community’s needs.
  • Sports nutritionist: Athletes and sports-persons have special dietary needs because they need to build their physical stamina and endurance. Many sports clubs and sponsors hire nutritional experts to ensure their professionals eat right and stay healthy.
  • Nutritional journalist: Nutritional journalism combines nutrition science and journalism. People working in this field have specialised knowledge of nutrition and have journalistic skills through which they write about latest research in simple language. To become a nutrition journalist, it’s important to have required coursework completed in both nutrition and journalism.

Qualifications needed to be a nutritionist

While some roles may need specific degrees, it is necessary that your child takes up science in grades 11 and 12 to pursue a degree in this field. Here are some courses that’ll help your child get into the field of nutritional science:

  • BSc / BA in Nutrition
  • BSc in Food Technology
  • BSc / BA in Home Science
  • MSc in Food and Nutrition

Passing the Indian Dietetic Association’s (IDA) entrance exam, studying nutrition-related subjects in undergraduate or postgraduate studies and a six-month internship after graduation are vital to becoming a registered dietitian in India.

Skills needed to be a nutritionist

Communication skills: These skills come in handy as dietitians often have to deal with people on a one-on-one basis. Moreover, people tend to be curious about the kind of diet they have been prescribed; so, it’s important for the dietitian to be able to explain complex nutritional science in a simple way that is easy to understand. So, good communication skills are a must.

Interpersonal skills: Health tends to be a delicate subject for many, and it’s important to know how to deal with it gracefully. Moreover, people need to feel comfortable enough to open up to the nutritionist about their health, so that they can suggest the appropriate course.

Research skills: Remaining up to date with the latest findings in the field is very important to be good at this job. So, it’s important to have the required curiosity to find out about the latest research on nutritional science.

Problem-solving skills: Each person’s body reacts differently to the same diet. It’s important to understand this and tailor the diet to suit individual needs. Moreover, it’s important to know which food to recommend based on the beliefs of the person, his monetary situation or geographical location.

Motivational skills: People often find it hard to break their routine and habits, and follow a prescribed diet. Therefore, it’s important for nutritionists to motivate their patients or clients to adopt a new diet plan and encourage them to stick to it.

FAQs about a career in nutrition

Priya Kathpal, a renowned nutritionist from Mumbai, answers important questions about pursuing a career in nutrition.

What attributes does a person need to have to make a good nutritionist?

Someone who is a good listener, patient, able to communicate in a simple language and interested in the science of food, including world cuisine.

What are the main skills needed to be a nutritionist?

Good interpersonal skills, the ability to manage time, motivation and optimism are all important skills a nutritionist needs to have. These help in working around client barriers. He also needs to be caring and compassionate, and should be a keen learner, as nutrition is an evolving science.

What do you think are some of the best courses in nutrition available in India?

There are various options available. They are: graduation and post-graduation in Clinical and Applied Nutrition; post-graduation in Sports Science and Nutrition; degree in Paediatric Nutrition; post-graduation in Diabetes Care and Lifestyle Management; degree in public health or community nutrition.

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