Best schools: SNDT college, Institute of Health Systems (IHS), Lady Irwin College, Avinashilingam University for Women, Banasthali University, Qualification: BSc Home Science, MSc Food & Nutrition, What you become: Nutritionists, Dietician Recruiters: Governmental, UN organizations, FMCGs, R&D institutes, schools, colleges
INDIA, the global capital for diabetes and other diseases (cardiovascular disorders, hypertension, heart disease, cancers) needs both curative and preventive nutrition,” says Kumud Khanna, Director, Institute of Home Economics (IHE). As a part of Home Science, nutritional studies kicked off in the 1930s in India.
“Earlier, the attention was towards finishing and grooming courses such as cooking and textile management. But nutrition education started gaining visibility in the early 1960s. At present, with new areas of practice, the nutrition domain has taken tremendous strides,” says Prof. Santosh Jain Passi, IHE.
The nutritionist/ dietician’s job
- Research the nutritive value of food
- Understand all food components
- Advise people on eating habits
- Plan diets that will improve health
A thin line of difference
Dieticians: Also referred to as clinical or therapeutic dietitians, these titles vary across the workplace. But essentially, they plan and supervise the preparation of diets designed for patients, and work in hospitals, clinics, health care centres, wellness programmes, fitness, sports centres or own private clinics. “A dietician helps to plan and monitor an individual’s diet,” says Namrata Singh, Senior Dietician at Department of Gastroenterology and Human Nutrition, AIIMS. In hospitals, they work closely with doctors and develop expertise in a particular medical domain. “Besides making the rounds of the respective wards, we check the quality and hygiene levels in the hospital kitchen. To excel, dieticians must be in tune with the medical world (diseases, medicines, treatment),” Singh adds.
Nutritionists: They work in the areas of food science, community development, research projects and Fast Moving Consumer Goods Companies (FMCG). Their work relates to research aspect. It could be in the field, desk or laboratory. Public health nutritionists work in the developmental sector. “They go beyond diets – move into the science of biochemistry, food science. They do not do so much of clinical nutrition as a dietician does,” says Kajali Paintal, Senior Nutrition Specialist, UNICEF, India.