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Registered Dietitians

The Importance of Building a Relationship
with a Registered Dietitian

Establishing an ongoing relationship with a Registered Dietitian, or RD, is an important part of taking care of your health.  “In the same way you have a physician you see regularly to manage your medical needs, you should also see an RD routinely for help in managing your nutritional needs,” says Registered Dietitian and American Dietetic Association spokesperson Joan Salge Blake.

“Through annual visits to a Registered Dietitian for a ‘nutrition checkup,’ individuals can obtain dietary advice and guidance based on their changing health needs,” Salge Blake says.  “These checkups enable you to not only address nutrition and health problems as they occur, but most importantly, prevent problems that are potentially looming down the road.

“Do you have high cholesterol or high blood pressure?  Are you dangerously overweight or even just have a few pounds to lose? Don’t wait until you have a stroke or a heart attack,” Salge Blake warns.  RDs draw from their experiences to develop personalized nutrition plans for individuals of all ages.  They are able to separate facts from fads and can translate nutritional science and research into practical information you can use. 

RDs are the experts in food and nutrition.  They have completed extensive nutrition coursework and have, at minimum, bachelor’s degrees, though many choose to pursue master’s and other advanced degrees and certifications as well.  They are required to undergo rigorous supervised training in a variety of practice settings and must pass an exam prior to becoming registered.  Like other respected medical professionals, RDs must also complete continuing education to maintain their registration status.  You won’t find anyone else with as much nutrition education, training, and expertise as an RD.

“People often are not aware that many health insurance plans now cover visits to a Registered Dietitian, sometimes without a doctor’s referral,” says Salge Blake,” so check with your insurance company.”  In 2002, Medicare began reimbursing for Medical Nutrition Therapy (MNT) provided by an RD for people with diabetes and kidney disease, and private insurers increasingly are covering visits to Registered Dietitians for treatment of obesity, high blood pressure, high blood cholesterol levels, and more.

Insurance coverage is only one of the benefits of choosing a Registered Dietitian over someone calling her- or himself a “nutritionist,” who could be anyone from a personal trainer to a health food store employee, who may or may not have any nutrition science training.  “‘Nutritionists’ may have little or no qualifications for dispensing nutrition advice,” Salge Blake says.  “Only an RD has the education and the experience to give you the latest personalized information based on solid scientific evidence.” 

When you need nutrition information based on fact, rely on qualified professionals in the field.  Accept no imitations.  Get started on your path to a healthy lifestyle today with WebNutritionist.com’s very own Registered Dietitian, offering virtual counseling over the web or telephone as well as in-person counseling at two Northern NJ office locations. If you reside outside this area, you can find another RD by using the "Find a Registered Dietitian" feature at www.eatright.org.

Click here for American Dietetic Association's Top Ten Reasons Why Consulting with a Registered Dietitian Can Benefit You.

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