What Do Public Health Nutritionists Do

Alyssa OmandacCareer, Overview

Diet and nutrition are important when you’re trying to live a healthy and happy life. There are professionals known as public health nutritionists who help people to improve their overall nutritional habits.

A public health nutritionist differs from a standard nutritionist because they are focusing on the big picture. Instead of helping one client at a time, a public health nutritionist is going to work to shape policy and come up with programs that will help large groups or institutions.



Public Health Nutritionists

Public health nutritionists are dedicated to finding ways to improve public health through nutrition, and those who choose to work in this field are registered dietitians who have decided to focus on entire communities instead of tackling nutrition issues one client at a time. A public health nutritionist works on developing strategies that will help to improve health in an entire community.

Salary: $53000
Education: Bachelor's degree
Personality: The Thinker

What they do

Public health nutritionists are dedicated to finding ways to improve public health through nutrition, and those who choose to work in this field are registered dietitians who have decided to focus on entire communities instead of tackling nutrition issues one client at a time. A public health nutritionist works on developing strategies that will help to improve health in an entire community.

Determining Problems in the Community

One of the first things that a public health nutritionist will do is take the time to recognize nutrition-related problems in the community. If there are nutritional deficiencies or significant health issues, then that will be taken into account. This data can be used to calculate plans that will help to improve health outcomes for people. For example, obesity rates could be an issue in many areas and a public health nutritionist will come up with ideas to help solve this issue.

Working on Programs and Policies to Improve Nutrition

Working on programs and policies to improve nutrition will help to bring about change in communities. A public health nutritionist will take the time to go over data while developing strong plans to improve the nutrition and health of a community. This could involve changing policies to encourage people to make healthier choices, but it’s often about developing nutritional recommendations to send to a group of people. Sometimes experts will create special programs that will help to educate people about nutrition or exercise as well.

Coming up with Meal Plans

It’s standard for nutritionists to work on developing meal plans for people, but a public health nutritionist does this on a different level. A public health nutritionist will work on creating general meal plans that will work well for the entire community. Instead of tailoring advice to one individual, these professionals will come up with strong meal plans that meet the needs of the people that they’re serving. Meal plans for the community need to consider factors such as nutritional needs, costs, and cultural considerations.

Promoting Better Nutrition

People in this field are tasked with getting the community to make better nutritional choices. They will work to promote nutrition initiatives in a variety of ways. This could involve coming up with advertising ideas to get good nutritional messages out in the community. A public health nutritionist will work to promote nutrition as much as possible using all the tools that are available to them.

Fieldwork and Research

Fieldwork and research often go hand in hand for public health nutritionists. They will go out into the field to gather data and learn about nutrition in the community. This gives them more information that they can use to formulate ideas. Over time, public health nutritionists will come up with strong plans to change nutritional outcomes by responding to what they encounter in the field.

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What is it like working as one

Pros

You Help People Become Healthier

You get the satisfaction of knowing that your work leads directly to people having better health outcomes. It can be fulfilling to see your nutritional advice help large groups of people.

You Make a Good Salary

When you consider that you can become a public health nutritionist without having to invest too much time in college, you’ll see that the salary is very good. Public health nutritionists make an average of $53,000, but you can earn more with more experience and better job opportunities.

You Enjoy a Comfortable Work Environment

Most public health nutritionists are going to be working in office environments. You’re likely going to have your own space to work on things, but some professionals won’t have as much space as others.

Fieldwork Can Be Satisfying

Public health nutritionists will also do fieldwork since they need to go out into the community to assess things. This gives them a chance to get out of the office from time to time, and it’s especially good for people who enjoy the communication aspect of the job.

There Is a Great Demand for Public Health Nutritionists

There is a great demand for public health nutritionists right now. It’s expected that demand will continue to rise, and this should make it fairly easy to find a job in the field. If you’re looking for a growing career that could be lucrative, then this job might suit you well.

Cons

You Must Keep Learning

Learning is something that you have to keep up with over time since new things are always coming to light. You’re always going to need to analyze new data on nutrition, and you must know that new data can change how you will approach things when coming up with nutritional plans.


Where they work

Hospital
Clinic and outpatient facility
Physician Office
Health organization


Public health nutritionists will be employed by many different types of companies. You will find them working in hospitals, clinics, physician offices, outpatient facilities, and even large health organizations. They take on roles promoting health and nutrition in a number of different ways.

How to become one

Step 1. Go to College

You’re going to need to go to college if you want to start a career as a public health nutritionist. You’re generally going to need to possess a bachelor’s degree in nutrition from an accredited program.

Step 2. Become Certified and Licensed

It’s also going to be necessary to seek out certification as a public health nutritionist. Depending on where you’re living, you might have to receive certification from the Clinical Nutrition Certification Board (CNCB), but this isn’t the case everywhere. You gain your license after receiving certification.

Step 3. Apply for Jobs

Once you have the educational requirements taken care of, you’re going to be able to apply for jobs. Simply apply for a public health nutritionist job in the area so that you can try to get hired by a local hospital, clinic, or health organization.

Should you become one

To become a public health nutritionist, it’s going to be necessary to possess the right type of personality. A public health nutritionist needs to have great communication skills so that they can get their advice across. It’s also imperative to have strong organizational skills so that you can manage data. Critical thinking is an important facet of the job as well, and this means that strong thinkers do well in this type of career.

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