By: Food Insight Blog Contributors Date: 3/14/2012
Today is Registered Dietitian Day! This day was created by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (formerly the American Dietetic Association) to increase awareness of the importance of registered dietitians as the indispensable providers of food and nutrition services and to recognize RDs for their commitment to helping people enjoy healthful lives.
You may or may not know that RDs can be found in a variety of professional environments. They work in clinical settings, but can also be found in community settings, in research and in education, just to name a few?
Here at the International Food Information Council (IFIC) Foundation, we are fortunate to have a number of RDs on staff. For Registered Dietitian Day, they are graciously sharing their personal feelings about what being an RD means.
“Being a registered dietitian brings responsibility and opportunity! I know my daily lifestyle habits and behaviors can be viewed by those who know my profession as either positive or negative, so the pressure is on….and that’s a good thing. Impact has come in all shapes and sizes over my years of practice- from seeing the eating disordered teenager turn the corner to the 89-year-old Alzheimer’s patient being able to enjoy her meals with the right assistance and utensils- to knowing that your recommendations and advice has benefitted at least one patient, peer or community. And hopefully my true value is being able to translate the science of nutrition in a way that brings understanding to a variety of audiences…and ultimately move the needle to healthful eating and lifestyle- a goal of all registered dietitians!”
--Marianna Smith Edge, MS, RD, LD, FADA
“I became a registered dietitian to help others lead a more healthful lifestyle. In the process, I have learned even more about myself. It is the people who I have helped that have changed me the most – changed my perspective, changed my attitude, changed my approach. While we have the science background, our clients have their own perspective on food and nutrition. I have learned that we must seek to understand their perspectives first if we are to help them reach their goals.
“Over the years, I have changed my attitude about food and nutrition. When I first became interested in nutrition and health, I may have been considered a ‘purist.’ Through the consumer research I have had the opportunity to engage in at the IFIC Foundation, I have come to appreciate the plight of many Americans as they struggle to sustain healthful lifestyle changes. As a busy mom of three young children myself, I have learned that ‘balance’ is more important.
“I also have changed my approach. To me, being an RD means being the REAL DEAL - approaching people where they are – from their perspective; seeking balance; and giving clients and consumers real-life solutions that are going to work for them – not me or someone else. As registered dietitians, we have an opportunity to help influence others. We also have the opportunity to learn from others and to gain so much more”
--Wendy Reinhardt Kapsak, MS, RD
“I studied nutrition in college because of my passion for food and desire to help people. This has always been my personal and professional motivation. Although I don’t work directly with clients, the consumer research that the IFIC Foundation conducts connects me, in a very meaningful way, to the various struggles people face when they try to improve their health. Now as a busy mom of two, I’m constantly tasked with finding the balance in my own life, between work, family, enjoyment, sleep, fitness and nutrition. Finding the right balance is not easy, but dietitians can have a big impact on the lives of Americans by being compassionate listeners and problem-solvers for some of life’s biggest challenges, like figuring out ‘what to eat.’”
--Elizabeth Rahavi, RD
“I grew up in a very active and health-oriented household. My parents were awesome role models for fitness and nutrition, but I thought nothing of it at the time. It was just part of life as I knew it. In fact, I took it for granted, along with many other things for that matter. Only after I moved away from home did I begin to realize and appreciate that not everyone has the same experiences or privileges growing up.
As time went on, it seemed the more friends I made the more questions I got about my diet and physical activities. And suddenly, a light bulb went off in my head—not everyone views diet and health in the same way. But why did I apparently have such a different view than so many? And why doesn’t everyone emphasize health equally? It was the quest to not only answer such fascinating questions for myself, but more importantly, to help others appreciate the connection between diet and health that led me to become a registered dietitian.”
--Kris Sollid, RD
“Growing up in Los Angeles really shaped my view of food and health at an early age. I was surrounded by health-conscious people in my community and exercising and eating healthy became the norm. I remember going to breakfast as a child and my omelette always coming with only fruit, so I had to specifically ask for hash browns. I soon realized that my childhood experience was unique, and that not everyone has the ability, resources and information to be healthy. This realization sparked my desire to pursue a career where I could help equip people with the necessary tools to live a healthful lifestyle.
Everyone can relate to the topic of food and being an RD allows me to communicate about food and health on a very personal level with anyone. Knowing that I can affect change in people’s lives on a small or large scale, whether it is encouraging a client to eat an extra serving of fruit a day or by clarifying nutrition myths for the public on the IFIC website, is a great honor and makes me proud to be a Dietitian.
--Sarah Romotsky, RD
If you know or see an RD today, make sure to take the time to say, Happy Registered Dietitian Day! We certainly appreciate the RDs we have on staff here at the IFIC Foundation.