Registered Dietitian Nutritionist (RDN)

Registered dietitian nutritionists (RDNs) are food and nutrition experts. They assess a person’s health and nutritional needs and come up with plans to meet those needs. RDNs are trained to help you with a variety of food, nutrition, and health needs. These include:

  • Helping you lose or gain weight

  • Finding foods that help ease swallowing

  • Coming up with special diets for certain conditions, such as celiac disease, food allergies, gout, or digestive problems

  • Understanding dietary changes that need to be made because of a disability

  • Helping with tube feeding formulas and schedules for people who can’t swallow

  • Teaching people and their families about nutrition topics linked to diseases, such as diabetes or heart disease

  • Helping a person overcome an eating disorder

  • Finding foods to help improve athletic performance

  • Teaching you how to plan and prepare healthy meals

  • Helping you get ready for or adjust to eating after having weight-loss (bariatric) surgery

  • Teaching parents about child nutrition

  • Teaching about good nutrition before, during, and after pregnancy

RDNs practice in many different settings. These include:

  • Hospitals

  • Inpatient rehab (rehabilitation) centers

  • Home health settings

  • Private practice and consulting

  • School districts and universities

  • Community or government nutrition programs

  • Fitness centers

  • Culinary schools and restaurants

  • Media, communications, social media, and food marketing

  • Grocery stores

RDNs hold an undergraduate degree, have completed an approved internship program, and have passed a national exam to be credentialed as registered dietitian nutritionists. Many have also earned a master's degree in dietetics or nutrition science. RDNs must complete ongoing professional educational requirements to maintain registration.

Online Medical Reviewer: Brittany Poulson MDA RDN CD CDE
Online Medical Reviewer: Diane Horowitz MD
Online Medical Reviewer: Louise Cunningham RN BSN
Date Last Reviewed: 9/1/2020
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