Higher Education

Higher Education

Career Opportunities in Food Nutrition & Dietetics

PUBLISH DATE 14th May 2019

Proper nutrition is one of the most essential elements to being healthy and living a long life. People deal with food every day, and food has been a part of life since the beginning of civilization. What we eat becomes our diet, and our diet plays a major role in deciding how healthy we are and how well our body functions. Without proper diet, our body cannot carry out the functions it needs to perform. Most people have some common knowledge of what is good and what is bad for the human body to consume. The effective management of food intake and nutrition are key to good health. Smart nutrition and food choices can help prevent disease. Eating the right foods can help your body cope more successfully with an ongoing illness. Understanding good nutrition and paying attention to what you eat can help you maintain or improve your health. The term 'food' brings to our mind countless images. We think of items not only that we eat and drink but also how we eat them and the places and people with whom we eat and drink. Food plays an important role in our lives and is closely associated with our existence. It is probably one of the most important needs of our lives. The food that we eat is composed of small units that provide nourishment to the body. These are required in varying amounts in different parts of the body for performing specific functions. This means that good nutrition is essential for good health. However, if our diet provides the important units in incorrect amounts, either very less or in excess of what is required, it results in an imbalance of nutrients in your body. The condition is responsible for various deficiency diseases and slow or no growth of the body.

Nutrition is the science that interprets the interaction of nutrients and other substances in food in relation to maintenance, growth, reproduction, health and disease of an organism. It includes food intake, absorption, assimilation, biosynthesis, catabolism and excretion. Nutrition-related jobs exist in a huge range of employment sectors, from health care and education to food service and manufacturing. One could potentially work in hospitals, schools, wellness centers, corporate cafeterias, research labs, and many other settings. With food and nutrition careers, there's plenty to explore and plenty of ways to make a difference. Broadly speaking, nutritionist/dietitian’s careers focus on the relationship between food and health. Being a nutritionist means under-standing the physiological ways the human body responds to food and the role that nutrients

play in the treatment and prevention of disease. Professionals in this field teach people about the nutritional value of different foods and offer advice about the kinds of foods people can eat to maintain a healthy lifestyle. Dietician job involve creating dietary plans to manage medical conditions or achieve specific health goals.

CAREER PROSPECTS AND JOB OPPORTUNITIES

Diverse job opportunities exist in front of nutritionists and dieticians in India. Both Government and private sector job opportunities are available in front of them. The possibilities are plentiful, depending on degree/ qualifications in food and nutrition/food science nutrition/ dietetics.  Nutritionists or dieticians may build a career in the following sectors-

  1. Hospitals, clinics, and other health care facilities/ Registered Dietician/ Nutritionist

Dietician organizes food and nutrition plan and promotes healthy eating habits to prevent and treat illness. They find work in food service businesses or working with patients in hospitals, clinics and other healthcare facilities. Typical tasks of nutritionists include assessing a client's dietary needs, consulting with a variety of health professionals, and creating a customized nutrition plan. In some cases, they also offer nutritional counselling. The process for learning how to be a nutritionist varies widely from state to state, so be sure to research the requirements in your area

  1. Sports training, gyms and fitness centres

Sports nutrition, involves diet planning according to the body's requirement and workout intensity followed at the gym, which will help in giving optimum results. Dietitian indulges in customized diet plans by keeping the members' lifestyle, likes-dislikes and financial constraints in mind.

  1. Food manufacturing companies

It involves formulating/ reformulating foods to make them healthier (i.e. lower salt, higher fibre, higher protein), assisting with the design of products for people with special medical needs, human and animal research: building scientific evidence to support nutrition claims for new products, involvement in industry committees to improve nutrition regulations, quality assurance, advising food safety/toxicology, project management, nutrition strategy, nutrition policy, nutritional education, advising on consumer trends, addressing consumer enquiries, preparing nutritional marketing material for in-house use or for public use and public speaking related to general nutrition and/or products

  1. Academic institutions/ Government agencies

One can be a School teacher, lecturers and Assistant Professor in schools, colleges and Universities/ Institutions. There are multiple nutrition jobs available in local and state/central government. Talking about Government sector, some of the well-known recruiters include, Government hospitals, Community health centres, Government Schemes and Missions (like ICDS, NHRM etc), Government Organizations (like FNB, ICMR, Public Health Foundation etc.), Government R&D units, Government Nursing homes and Government Nutrition Education Institutes

  1. Public health organizations/ Community centres

A public health nutritionist is an expert in diet and nutrition who works to improve public nutritional habits instead of working one on one with individual clients. They are registered dieticians, and they focus on helping to implement strategies for a community or for a large organization that will improve the nutrition of the population, and thus have a positive influence on that population's health and wellbeing. Dietician in this practice area may work in settings such as public health clinics, fitness centers, corporate wellness programs or home health agencies.

  1. Food product development scientist

Finding new ways to improve the safety, flavour, or nutritional value of different food products is the job of food product development scientists. They come up with processes and formulations to improve food quality while controlling costs. Many positions call for advanced degrees, but some are open to those with a bachelor's degree.

  1. Regulatory affairs specialist

Ensuring that the development and production of food items comply with all applicable laws is the task of regulatory affairs specialists. Their job is to make sure that the company they work for operates within the rules. It's important to stay on top of food and dietary legislation and conduct regular reviews of processes. Most employers look for a degree in nutrition, food science, or a related field.

  1. Nutritional therapist

Drawing on an understanding of both nutrition and human behaviour, a nutritional therapist takes a holistic approach to wellness and assesses all aspects of a person's lifestyle in order to develop a nutritional plan. For a nutritional therapist, salary and job duties can both vary widely, depending on how much experience the person has and what licenses or certifications he or she holds

  1. Food labelling specialist

Food labelling specialists are responsible for coming up with the nutritional labels on food products. They make sure that product ingredients, nutritional facts, and allergen warnings are accurate and in line with industry regulations.

  1. Corporate wellness consultant

A growing number of private businesses and corporations are hiring wellness consultants to provide guidance on healthy eating and exercise habits. These consultants might offer general tips on nutrition and health or lead seminars on how office workers can manage stress or avoid muscle fatigue. You'll need strong customer service skills for this kind of work.

  1. Food safety auditor

Reviewing and analyzing the safety and sanitation procedures at companies that process, manufacture, or serve food is the primary focus of food safety auditors. They conduct inspections, write reports, and sometimes educate workers on policies and procedures.

  1. Nutrition services manager

Schools, hospitals, care facilities, and other institutions rely on nutrition services managers to plan and coordinate the large-scale delivery of nutritionally appropriate meals. This role involves planning menus, procuring supplies, managing budgets, and overseeing food preparation.

  1. Humanitarian nutritionist

Focusing on malnutrition and hunger in disaster zones or developing countries can be a rewarding way to put your nutritional knowledge to work. Humanitarian nutritionists evaluate the food supply systems in different areas and develop programs to fill any nutritional gaps. They might set up a mobile centre to treat malnourished children or advise villagers on the best items to plant in a communal vegetable garden.

  1. Nutrition educator

Nutrition educators develop programs to promote healthy food choices and habits. They often work for government agencies that serve new mothers or low-income groups. They might offer information about basic nutrition along with tips on budgeting and food safety. They might also be responsible for screening candidates for food assistance services and helping applicants with paperwork.

  1. Nutrition writer

As a nutrition writer, one could channel his/her food and diet expertise into e-books, newspaper columns, magazine articles, or web content. Possible topics include anything from trends in healthy eating to the latest research on specific vitamins or nutrients. Most of this work is freelance. Formal training in nutrition will give you more credibility; courses in journalism or communication will also help.

  1. Nutrition assistant

In a hospital, nursing home, or other clinical care setting, nutrition assistants typically help prepare food, distribute meals, and ensure that patients get the proper nourishment. They talk to patients about food preferences, record how much each patient ate, and report any dietary issues to the supervising nutritionist or dietitian.

  1. Food Service Management

Foodservice directors work in a variety of setting including hospitals, long-term care and assisted living facilities, schools, colleges/ universities, government facilities, etc.  In addition to needing skills in food production, food safety and general nutrition, they also need to have skills in business management, including marketing, accounting and human resource management.

  1. Public Policy

Many government and private food and nutrition-related organizations (eg. USDA, FDA, Health Management Organizations, insurance companies, the National Restaurant Association, etc.) employ individuals who are experts in public policy.  Individuals who pursue a career in public policy may benefit from gaining knowledge in political science, sociology, environmental science and sustainability, and public speaking in addition to food safety, dietary guidelines and food regulations.

  1. Food Safety/ Government Regulations

Many opportunities exist for a career in food safety.  Many private and government agencies hire food safety inspectors to ensure that government regulations for food safety and food manufacturing are being upheld.  State health departments are responsible for inspecting restaurants and other food service facilities to ensure compliance with food safety regulations.  Individuals who pursue a career in food safety may benefit from gaining knowledge in food science, food microbiology, food safety, and food regulations.  In addition, these individuals need an understanding of how regulations and laws pertaining to food-borne illness and food safety.   

  1. Culinary Science

Students in Nutrition Studies may also choose to pursue a career in culinary science.  Culinary specialists may work in the food industry (eg. test kitchen, recipe development), food service management (eg. menu development for schools or healthcare facilities, etc.), or education/communication (eg. community classes, television cooking shows, or food journalism).  Students interested in this career track may require knowledge in advanced food science and cooking, food chemistry and microbiology, food safety, general nutrition, marketing, advertising and public speaking.

  1. Sustainable Nutrition/ Food Systems

There is a growing demand for students interested in sustainability related to nutrition and food production.  Students may pursue a career that engages and educates individuals and communities in topics of sustainable nutrition and health by connecting them with food producers and the production of food, helping organizations become more sustainable and teaching about local food systems.  Experts in this area serve as resources or consultants to schools, community education programs, farmers markets and other organizations for the development and implementation of farm-to-fork, farm-to-school, community gardening, and other programs.  Individuals in this career track need knowledge of food production systems, agriculture policy, organic regulations, basic agronomy and horticulture, and the culinary arts.  In addition, students need to have strong communication skills, including oral presentation and technical writing skills.

 COURSES

Food and Nutrition/Nutrition and Dietetics courses are available in many formats in India. They are Diploma courses, Undergraduate (Degree) courses and Post-graduate (PG) courses (Certificate courses are also available) and Ph D (Food and Nutrition) course.

  1. DIPLOMA COURSES
  • Diploma in Nutrition and Health Education
  • Diploma in Dietetics
  • Diploma in Nutrition and Dietetics
  • Diploma in Food Science and Nutrition
  • Diploma in Dietetics and Clinical Nutrition
  • Diploma in Nutrition and Food Technology
  1. BACHELOR'S DEGREE COURSES
  • Sc. in Clinical Nutrition
  • Sc. in Nutrition and Dietetics
  • Sc. in Food Science and Nutrition
  • Sc. in Applied Nutrition
  • Sc. in Dietetics
  • Sc. in Home Science (Nutrition and Food Science specialization)

 

  1. PG COURSES

  • Sc Home Science (Food and Nutrition)

  • Clinical Nutrition
  • Paediatric Nutrition
  • Public Health Nutrition
  • Food Science/Technology
  • Sports Nutrition/Dietetics
  • Gerontological Nutrition
  • Renal Nutrition

The author is Assistant Professor, Department of Food and Nutrition, Government Home Science College, Sector-10, Chandigarh

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