Careers in Nutrition and Dietetics
in Nutrition and DieteticsDietetics is the science of managing food and
nutrition to promote health. A relatively new profession, this field has gained
importance with the realisation that inappropriate eating habits can lead to
many major diseases and that quality of life depends on the quality of food we
Dieticians or nutritionists help to promote good health through corrective
eating habits, thus improving the quality of life. They assist people in
planning meals depending upon their age, sickness or work routine, counsel and
educate them about healthy eating- selection and preparation of food items
according to the principles of nutrition and evaluate and make changes in their
clients diet periodically.
Dietitians promote nutritious eating habits through education and research, as
well as through overseeing the selection and preparation of food services for
many different institutions and groups. They fix nutritional regimens for
patients in a hospital, athletes in physical training camps, mountaineers on an
expedition and so on. They do research on nutritive value of food which help to
understand the various components of food we eat and the right type of food
which provides a balanced mix of the essentials like vitamins, minerals etc
needed for the human body. They study the digestive process, the various
reactions of food stuffs in the body and find out what is harmful and thus help
to prevent diseases through a proper diet program. Some of them specialize in
areas such as obesity, pediatrics or diabetes. They form a vital part of the
Organisations involved in food product manufacture use the services of the
nutritionist or dietician to plan and research new products. The
also has excellent prospects in the mass media where top of priority is given to
disseminating vital information on healthy living .They could find employment in
hospitals, research labs of food manufacturers, catering departments of star
hotels, health departments and recreation clubs, teach the science of nutrition
and dietetics in colleges and universities. They can also work as consultants or
do private practice.
The trends today show a increasing interest in health and fitness. So future
prospects in this women dominated field are bright.
People opting for a career in Dietetics and Nutrition should
study home science or dietetics and nutrition, food science/technology courses
at the graduate and postgraduate levels.
Candidates desiring to seek admission to the course in
Bachelor course in Nutrition & Dietetics are required to have a pass in the
Higher Secondary Examination or Plus two in science subjects covering physics,
chemistry, home science and biology. Besides a B.Sc in Nutrition & Dietetics,
other preferable fields of graduation are Home Science, food science and
technology, Medicine, Hotel management or Catering Technology.
The three-year B.Sc. Home science courses covers subjects
including food and nutrition. Several universities or colleges offer B.Sc. and
M.Sc. Courses in Home science. Four year Food technology courses after Plus two
in the science stream are also available in a few colleges and institutions.
In the post graduation level, Dietetics and nutrition course
can be either 2 year Masters programs or 1 year Post Graduate Diploma (Diploma
in Dietetics and Public Health Nutrition (DDPHN).Those with Bachelors degree in
food science, home science, hotel management & catering technology,
microbiology, biochemistry and medicine are eligible for Post Graduate level
Degrees or Diplomas. In a 2 year M.Sc. Home Science course, one can specialise
in food science and nutrition.M.Sc. home science course includes biochemistry,
physiology, biostatistics, research methods, investigation into nutrition, human
nutritional requirements, food microbiology and principles of food science in
the first year, human nutrition and dietetics, institutional management and food
science are included in the final year.
The one year DDPHN course has a compulsory three-month
internship, working in a hospital under a qualified dietician. Subjects of study
covered during the DDPHN training include biochemistry, nutrition, applied
physiology, food, microbiology, administration, therapeutic nutrition, and
public health nutrition. After doing Post graduation programme, one can also go
in for PhD and do Research in Food and Nutrition.
The National Institute of Nutrition, Hyderabad
www.icmr.nic.in/000229/nin.htm is a premier institute under Indian Council of
Medical Research, www.icmr.nic.in an autonomous body under the Ministry of
Health and Family welfare, Government of India, that offers regular nutrition
training courses every year .
Those who take a doctorate degree in the area can aim at a
better career in the research /academic fields. The Jawaharlal Nehru
Technological University, Hyderabad www.jntu.ac.in offers research facilities
for Ph.D. in food technology. Postgraduates in chemistry, microbiology,
biochemistry, home science, agriculture, horticulture, food technology, food
science and nutrition, veterinary science, M.Tech in chemical/ diary/agri/ food
technology are eligible for admission.
Personal qualities - A good dietitian or nutritionist should
have an interest in food and food preparation. Good communication skills to
communicate with people individually and in groups and good writing skills for
producing reports, leaflets etc are essential. One should have patience and
genuine concern for fellow beings. They should also have planning and
administrative skills and organizational ability. Dietitians need to be fit and
healthy and able to work as a team member.
Job Prospects and Career Options
Nutrition and Dietetics is a vital, growing field and the opportunities and
possibilities in this field are endless. Nutritionists and dieticians could find
employment in hospitals, health and recreation clubs, canteens, nursing care
facilities, teach the science of nutrition and dietetics in colleges and
universities, catering departments of star hotels, research labs of food
manufacturers, in health departments of government etc. They can also work as
consultants or do private practice. Moreover they could find openings in the
mass media where top priority is given to disseminating vital information on
The main fields in which a dietician or nutritionists can work is in Food
service field, Institutional Catering, Health Care field, Research & Development
and Social Welfare. Food service field include food Catering service,
Restaurants etc where professionals can do menu planning, monitoring the food
preparation etc. Institutional Catering is another field where Nutrition and
dietetics professionals are needed to plan, supervise and prepare nutritious and
well-balanced meals for schools, colleges, factories or office cafeterias etc.
Their work may also include the estimation and purchase of food supplies and
equipment; receiving, checking and taking inventories of provisions etc. Those
who are involved in such work are called Administrative or Management dietitian
In Health Care field,people suffering from certain diseases such as diabetics,
heart diseases, obesity etc, need to take extra care of their eating habits and
the kind of food they eat. Depending on the nutrition needs of the patients,
dieticians prepare their diet charts and monitor the results of dietary therapy
and maintain records. Professionals working in this field are called Clinical/
Therapeutic dietitian or Nutritionists.
Research and Development involves conducting research on various food items to
ensure their quality as well as studying the effects of various types of diet on
the body chemistry in labs. The research dietician or nutritionists do research
on nutritive value of food which help to understand the various components of
food we eat and the right type of food which provides a balanced mix of the
essentials like vitamins, minerals etc needed for the human body. Organizations
involved in food product manufacture use the services of the nutritionist or
dietician to plan and research new products as well as to check the nutritional
quality of their products. Research careers occur mainly in universities,
specialist institutions, food product manufacturing companies and hospitals.
Nutrition and dietetics professionals also work for Social Welfare,they work in
organizations mainly public health departments run by government, which helps in
improving the eating habits and consequently, the health of the public. Public
Health / Community dietitian.
Remuneration for Nutrition & Dietetics professionals is depended on the job
and the area of work. In private hospitals, trainees may get starting salary of
Rs. 2500 per month and after they gain more experience their salary may range
between Rs. 4500 - 5000 with benefits. Research work, teaching, catering jobs
etc. has good payment as also Food Technologists working in a food services
department or industry etc. Consultant dieticians in private practice can earn
more depending on their practice.