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Health Unit promotes Dietitians during Nutrition Month

March 4, 2024

March is Nutrition Month and this year’s theme is “We are Dietitians”. The Leeds, Grenville and Lanark District Health Unit is raising awareness of what dietitians do in your community.

Nutrition information is all over the internet, in books, and television; but how do you know what is credible information? Registered dietitians give credible information based on the best available science and encourage food choices that promote health and well-being. In Ontario, anyone can call themselves a nutritionist but the title of “dietitian” is protected by law, just like nurses, pharmacists, or physicians, so if you see “registered dietitian” or “RD” beside a name, that person is committed to evidence-based practice.

Dietitians work in a variety of settings, including: clinical settings such as hospitals, doctors’ offices, long term care, home care, in the community, private practice, food service, sports, academia and research, business and media, and public health units and government.

In public health, dietitians work in a variety of areas and roles. One focus is on school-aged children and youth, providing consultations on teaching about food and nutrition and creating a positive school food environment. Dietitians in public health also partner with municipalities, youth centres and groups, libraries, and other community organizations to support them with services like providing recommendations for a healthy canteen menu at a recreation facility, offering train-the-trainer sessions for food literacy programming, or working with groups to develop nutrition-related activities for their program.

Further public health nutrition work focuses on children aged 0 to 6 years, their families, and pregnant individuals. Dietitians support our Healthy Babies Healthy Children program and Healthy Growth and Development team by providing consultation, education, and resources. We collaborate with community partners to support families with prenatal nutrition, introducing solids, and creating positive feeding relationships. Working with child care centres on meal planning and creating supportive nutrition environments is also a public health responsibility.

At the Health Unit, there is also nutrition work that’s done at the population level. This work includes: policy development, a focus on equitable access to food and food insecurity, working with the media, and engaging with community groups and networks who are working to ensure all residents can access, prepare and enjoy healthy food. This also includes providing information on the cost of nutritious food relative to income and other living expenses, such as housing.

While public health dietitians do not offer one-on-one counselling or public presentations, there is a Registered Dietitian Service Directory on the Health Unit website or has a “Find a Dietitian” feature for anyone who needs this type of service.

For more information about nutrition and the services of dietitians, visit Healthy Eating – Leeds, Grenville and Lanark District Health Unit or connect with LGLHealthUnit on Facebook and Twitter, or call 1-800-660-5853.


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