A Dietitian is a health professional with a university degree, recognized as an expert in food, nutrition and dietetics, with the capacity to intervene in the diet of a person or group.
According to the European Federation of the Associations of Dietitians (EFAD):
‘Dietitian is a qualified and legally recognised person to be able to advise a good diet, both for groups of people or individuals in good health, and for those who need a therapeutic system.’
Dietitians in Europe are recognized healthcare professionals, educated to at least Bachelor’s level. Using evidence-based approaches, dietitians work autonomously to empower or support individuals, families, groups and populations to provide or select food which is nutritionally adequate, safe, tasty and sustainable. Dietitians assess specific nutritional requirements throughout the life span and translate this into advice and/or treatment. This will maintain, reduce risk, or restore health, as well as alleviate discomfort in palliative care. Beyond healthcare, dietitians improve the nutritional environment for all through governments, industry, academia and research.
According to the US Department of Labour Dictionary of Occupational Titles
«Dietitian is a person who applies the principles of nutrition in the diet of individuals and groups; plans special menus and diets; supervises the presentation and servicing of meals; it educates on the principles of nutrition and its application in food selection».
In any situation where proper nutrition can help improve the quality of life, dieticians teach, research, assess, guide and advise. The dietitian-nutritionist profession goes hand in hand with food and nutritional education. The dietitian exercises in the following areas with specific functions for each of them:
1. The clinical dietitian acts on the diet of a healthy or sick person or group of people (in case of sickness after medical diagnosis), taking into account physiological needs (or pathological if applicable), personal, socio-economic, The Dietitian can perform his/her duties as a clinical dietitian.
2. The community or public health dietitian (prevention and health promotion) acts on the general population, from various entities. He / she develops and participates in programmes of food policies, prevention and health in general, and food education, within the public health and community nutrition framework.
3. The dietitian participates in the collective catering management and organization. He /she ensures the quality and healthiness of the food throughout the production process, the quality and wholesomeness of food throughout the process. He/she trains the food service staff on food safety, plans menus and assesses the nutritional balance of the food supply.
4. The dietitian in the industry advises on new innovative products and food related marketing.
5. The dietitian acts as a trainer in public and private centers where knowledge about food, nutrition and health are taught.
6. The research dietitian joins multidisciplinary research teams. He/she enhances and implements research in the area of food, nutrition and health.