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What is a Registered Dietitian?

A Registered Dietitian (RD) is a specialist in the study of nutrition who can assist people in planning the kinds and amounts of foods that promote a healthy lifestyle. 

State Registered Dietitians translate the science of nutrition into everyday information about food. 

RDs undertake the practical application of nutrition to promote the well being of individuals, and communities to prevent nutrition-related problems. They are also involved in the diagnosis and dietary treatment of disease. 

Registered Dietitians work with people who have special dietary needs, inform the general public about nutrition, give unbiased advice, evaluate and improve treatments and educate clients, doctors, nurses, health professionals and community groups.

Registered Dietitians can work in a variety of areas; many are within hospitals or in the community as Clinical Dietitians, and Health Educators. Both Hospital and Community Dietitians educate people who need special diets as part of their medical treatment, for example patients with:

  • Kidney Disease
  • Food Allergies
  • Eating Disorders
  • Diabetes
  • HIV/AIDS
  • Cancer
  • Gastrointenstinal Problems


Dietitians have special skills in translating scientific and medical decisions related to food and health to inform the general public. They also play an important role in health promotion. 

A State Registered Dietitian has an interest in science, people and food. RDs are able to communicate with people from all areas of the community, have the ability to explain complex things simply.

In addition to your primary care doctor, an important factor of your health care needs will be a registered dietitian. A dietitian is a nutrition expert who has passed a national credentialing exam. They can use the title Registered Dietitian (RD), or in some states Licensed Dietitian (LD). Some dietitians take an additional exam for the credential of Certified Diabetes Educator (CDE).

Your RD will work with your primary care doctor to assist you in fine-tuning your medications, meals and exercise requirements. They also will be able to assist you with reading food labels, and providing cooking and grocery shopping tips. If you have never consulted a dietitian, enter your zip code above to search for a dietitian near you.



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