To eat is a necessity, but to eat intelligently is an art.
Most of us learnt the importance of a healthy balanced diet early in school. But most of us also, forget about it soon after reading about it in elementary school.
It is thanks to nutritionists that a lot of people today are embracing a healthy lifestyle. With the way the pollution is shaping the environment of our planet, a healthy diet is the need of the hour for a prolonged and healthy life.
It also has a lot of additional benefits like maintaining a healthy weight and preventing chronic diseases. People nowadays are of course obsessed with fitness and diet is a major part of their goals.
This has paved way for this exciting new age career. Read on to find out more…
The Greek physician Hippocrates famously linked food with health by saying, “Let thy food be thy medicine and thy medicine be thy food’.
These became words to live by and have led to the amazing research and development that has taken place until now. Traditionally, in India, nutrition has been the worst in both adults and children alike because of our vast history of vandalism by foreigners and induced famines alike.
However, the present scenario has improved and per capita consumption has increased rapidly with the boost in the economy. Although this still does not change the fact that even with the decrease in poverty, the consumption of various nutrients, with the exception of fats is decreasing every year.
With the increase in awareness among people about the benefits of nutrition, the demand for nutritionists and dieticians has grown exceptionally in the past few years.
Nutritionists are required for planning and supervising the preparation of meals in various institutions like schools, hospitals, private businesses mostly. They can either work in a government/private institution or set up their own practice and chart food systems for clients to achieve various goals.
The various profiles of work related to this field that exists today are-
- Health trainer
- Nutritional therapist
- Food scientist
- Health promotion specialist
- Community dietician
- Sports team nutritionist
- Researcher and teacher
- Clinical dietician
- Management dietician
- Diet consultant
Courses and exams
For becoming a dietician or a nutritionist, it is recommended that you opt for home science as an elective during 11th and 12th standard. Following this, a course in BSc. Nutrition and Dietetics can be or a BSc in home science might be preferred.
For post-graduation, both MSc degree and a diploma in nutrition and dietetics or home science are available in India.
Some of the institutions offering courses in this field are as follows-
- Lady Irwin College, Delhi University
- University of Mysore
- Institute of home economics
- National Institute of nutrition
- All India Institute of hygiene and public health
The courses offered in nutrition and diet-related careers are not more than 3 years in duration. This can be followed by a 2 yearlong post-graduation course.
The various roles and responsibilities of a nutritionist or a dietician include the following-
- Planning, developing and supervising effective nutritional food systems at various institutions such as hospitals, schools, colleges etc.
- Preparing customised meals for patients according to their nutritional requirements keeping in mind their treatments.
- Provide nutritional assessments and coaching in lifestyle for clients.
- Create awareness and conduct surveys under various initiatives for spreading awareness about malnutrition.
- Provide input for healthy ingredients and nutrition level for the food production and healthcare companies.
- Teach people about nutrition and benefits of a healthy lifestyle.
- Provide aide for treatment of different illnesses through food.
- Undertake research for development or discovery of food that helps in prolonging life and is helpful in the long run.
- You can make a difference in the standard of living of a large number of people.
- In case of a self-established business, the timings can be as flexible as you want and sometimes the business can even be conducted over the phone without any kind of exertion at all.
- The stress level compared to other careers is almost nil.
- Good earning potential and with experience, growth also increases. This is an up and coming career in the today’s time.
- Requirements for setting up a private business might be different at different places.
- It does not pay as much as some mainstream careers.
- Competition is very tough in this career as there are many people who are equally qualified if not more since this course can be pursued by virtually anyone.
- It may take time to establish yourself and build a clientele.
Salary and growth perspective
A fresher might get anywhere between 10000-15000 (2.5 lpa) per month whereas a person with a post-graduate degree or diploma and a good knowledge can even get up to 7lpa.
The growth perspective in this career is very good as the food is one area in which experiments will never cease to happen and a healthy lifestyle is often craved by one and all.
- Good listener.
- Good interpersonal skills.
- Critical thinking skills.
- Networking and organisational requirements.
- Verbal skills.
Level of difficulty-2/5