DieticianDietitians supervise the preparation and service of food, develop modified diets, participate in research, and educate individuals and groups on good nutritional habits. The goals of dietitians are to provide medical nutritional intervention, and to obtain, safely prepare, serve and advise on flavorsome, attractive, and nutritious food for patients, groups and communities. Dietary modification to address medical issues involving dietary intake is a major part of dietetics (the study of nutrition as it relates to health). For example, working in consultation with physicians and other health care providers, a dietitian may provide specific artificial nutritional needs to patients unable to consume food normally. Professional dietitians may also provide specialist services such as in diabetes, obesity, oncology, osteoporosis, pediatrics, renal disease, and micronutrient research.
In many countries, only people who have specified educational credentials and other professional requirements can call themselves "dietitians" — the title is legally protected. The term "nutritionist" is also widely used; however, the terms "dietitian" and "nutritionist" should not be considered interchangeable — the training, regulation and scope of practice of the two professional titles can be very different across individuals and jurisdictions.
Clinical dietitians work in hospitals, nursing care facilities and other health care facilities to provide nutrition therapy to patients with a variety of health conditions, and provide dietary consultations to patients and their families. They confer with other health care professionals to review patients' medical charts and develop individual plans to meet nutritional requirements. Some clinical dietitians will also create or deliver outpatient or public education programs in health and nutrition. Clinical dietitians may provide specialized services in areas of nourishment and diets, tube feedings (called enteral nutrition), and intravenous feedings (called parenteral nutrition) such as total parenteral nutrition (TPN) or peripheral parenteral nutrition (PPN).