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The Role of a Dietitian: February 24, 2019

It’s more than just knowing what to eat.  “Dietitians have to go through a rigorous process of getting matched to a dietitian internship, which is accredited, and then also to take the national registry exam,” explained Noel Konken, a clinical dietitian with Lee Health.

Education and knowledge dietitians use to educate patients both in and out of the hospital. “Registered dietitians work in all different types of work environments. You can find them in schools, they’re in hospitals, working in acute critical care, you can also find them in outpatient to work on your nutrition goals, whether that is weight loss, or maybe it’s doing cardiac rehab or trying to gain weight as well,” said Konken.

Using nutrition, dietitians can help patients with a variety of health concerns, including chronic illness, a new diagnosis, heart disease, obesity, or malnutrition.

“What you can expect is to generally do an initial assessment for 60 minutes with a dietitian, and that’s where the plan is developed. They get to know you and get to know where your positive lifestyle changes can come from,” said Leigha Messner, a clinical dietitian with Lee Health.

Understanding how nutrition plays a role in your overall health can help patients modify and improve their diet.  “It’s tailored to fit you because there’s no one size fits all approach. That’s why speaking with a dietitian is beneficial,” said Messner.

Through education, planning, and guidance, dietitians can help to improve your health, lower your risk for chronic disease, and help you achieve your health goals.

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