When to seek nutrition counseling
If you have several unsuccessful attempts at weight loss, are confused about nutrition, need help understanding dietary restrictions to help manage your health, are unhappy with your body shape, size and/or weight, or struggle with emotional eating or an eating disorder then nutrition counseling can help you
Who is qualified to provide nutrition counseling
Nutrition counseling is best provided by a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist (RDN). An RDN is an expert in food and nutrition who has extensive experience in clinical and community nutrition, foodservice, and food science. The RDN designation also indicates this healthcare practitioner has completed 1200 hours of internship experience and has successfully passed a national exam. In the state of Florida, RDNs must be licensed to provide nutrition counseling and prescribe individual eating plans. In order to maintain national registration and licensure, an RDN must complete 75hrs and 35hrs of continuing education, respectively.
What to expect from an RDN
RDNs provide a nutrition assessment, determine the nutrition diagnosis, determine and implement a nutrition intervention, and then in subsequent visits monitor and evaluate the patient’s progress. Nutrition education for disease prevention and nutrition counseling for chronic conditions provided over a series of visits are essential components of a comprehensive health care program.
Medical Nutrition Therapy provided by RDNs can:
- Improve a patient’s health and well-being.
- Increase satisfaction levels through decreased hospitalizations and reduced prescription drug use.
Medical Nutrition Therapy improves patient outcomes, quality of life and lowers health-care costs. Medicare covers outpatient MNT provided by registered dietitian nutritionists for beneficiaries with diabetes, chronic renal insufficiency/end-stage renal disease (non-dialysis renal disease) or post kidney transplant. Many other private insurance companies also cover MNT services for a variety of conditions and diseases.
The Institute of Medicine identifies registered dietitian nutritionists as qualified professionals for nutrition therapy. According to IOM, the registered dietitian nutritionist is currently the single identifiable group of health-care professionals with standardized education, clinical training, continuing education and national credentialing requirements necessary to be directly reimbursed as a provider of nutrition therapy.