Health insurance companies and state departments of licensing for healthcare providers require a credentialing process where healthcare professionals must prove their education, training and continuing education requirements before the provider is deemed “legitimate” to practice. But if you pay cash and do not use or have health insurance, the nutrition professional you are seeing may or may not be qualified. Until we have a national standard for the term “nutritionist,” just about anyone in most states can set up a practice and advertise – so ask about education, training and experience before making that first appointment! Take a look at some of the training and you would be shocked! Do you really want to be seeking advice from someone with less than a year of training after high school? Just do an internet search for nutritionist training programs and prepare to be amazed.
The “Registered Dietitian “(RD) credential is the minimal standard that most insurance companies, hospitals, long-term care and school districts require. Why should you even care? Because everyone needs to see a qualified nutritionist at least 2 times a year. Why is seeing a qualified nutritionist necessary? Because 8 of the top 10 diseases in the US have a connection to food and lifestyle. And prevention and wellness guidance from a qualified nutrition consultant is so much cheaper than disease interventions.
Can you imagine if there were no national standards for the education and training of physicians and nurses? Do doctors, nurses and healthcare professionals other than nutritionists really have the time and expertise to be the sole providers of nutrition advise? Most of the time they are. It’s about time that the extensive education, training and continuing education requirements of legitimate nutrition professionals are recognized and appreciated. But does anyone besides me really care?