how do nutritionists impact preventive healthcare

The Role of Nutritionists in Preventive Healthcare

Eating habits play a significant role in developing certain chronic diseases, including heart disease, obesity, cancer, and diabetes. Luckily, nutritionists are educated in helping their patients make dietary changes to prevent and treat these conditions.

Many individuals struggle with making permanent changes on their own and turn to dietitians and nutritionists for help and support.

Dietitians and nutritionists are experts in using food and nutrition to promote health and manage disease. They use their knowledge and skills to plan and conduct nutritional programs to help people lead healthy lives.

Let’s explore how earning a Nutrition degree and becoming a nutritionist enables graduates to positively impact their clients and the preventive healthcare field.

What is a Nutrition Degree?

The field of nutrition studies the relationship between diet and health, disease, and metabolism. It spans a wide range of research involving basic science investigations of the role of nutrients and food components at the cellular level to the impact of dietary interventions on an individual.

Thus, a Master’s in Nutrition provides candidates with the skills to assess a person’s diet, review medical histories, and work one-on-one to develop an appropriate nutrition plan to realize a person’s health needs and goals.

Students frequently complete their degrees in as few as twenty-three months and generally take Nutrition courses in:

  • Biochemistry of Nutrition
  • Evidence-based Nutrition
  • Vitamins and Minerals
  • Clinical Biochemistry
  • Clinicals

What is a Nutritionist?

Nutritionists evaluate their clients’ health through nutrition assessment and, in some cases, diagnostic laboratory testing.

They use these results to advise and guide clients on how to modify their behavior, develop meal and nutrition plans for their clients, and counsel their clients on their nutritional needs.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, nutritionists work in many settings, including hospitals, nursing homes, clinics, cafeterias, and for state and local governments earning a median annual salary of $61,650.

As interest in the role of food and nutrition in promoting wellness and preventive healthcare, particularly in medical settings, continues to increase, so does the need for qualified and skilled nutritionists. Plus, nutritionists are assured a high level of job security, with an employment growth rate of seven percent by 2031 and an average of 5,600 openings projected yearly.


Learn more about preparing to become a Certified Nutrition Specialist at University of Bridgeport!


What is a Nutritionist’s Role in Preventive Healthcare?

Nutritionists play a pivotal role in preventive healthcare as a good diet affects the likelihood of developing certain diseases.

Proper diet can prevent or delay many conditions, including:

  • Digestive problems (heartburn, constipation, and food intolerances)
  • Blood disorders (anemia)
  • Degenerative bone diseases (osteoporosis)
  • Types of cancer (mouth and throat, stomach, and lung)
  • Cardiovascular disease
  • Type 2 diabetes
  • Hypertension

Through health promotion and disease-prevention strategies like meal plans and counseling, nutritionists reduce morbidity and mortality, improve quality of life, and significantly impact the prevention and treatment of the abovementioned diseases.

How Do You Become a Nutritionist?

While finding work as a nutritionist with only a bachelor’s degree is possible, employers and individuals find it easier to hire and find jobs in clinical settings with a Master’s in Nutrition.

Graduates are prepared to provide clinical care in medical practices, hospitals, and government offices and qualified to teach and conduct research. Additionally, nutrition program graduates exhibit ethical, collaborative, and culturally sensitive professional behavior—ensuring they can support clients from all experiences, backgrounds, and demographics.

After graduating, students must research the licensure requirements of the state they wish to practice in. Currently, only nineteen states require clinical nutritionists to earn licensure.

Connecticut, for example, has no licensure requirement for individuals to provide general nutrition care, but only state-certified individuals can call themselves “Certified Nutritionists.”

Luckily, the online Master’s in Human Nutrition program at University of Bridgeport (UB) is a pathway that prepares and enables students to pursue licensure and the certified nutrition specialist (CNS) credential no matter what state they are in.

Again, students should research to ensure they meet all legal requirements to practice in their state.

The Master’s of Human Nutrition at University of Bridgeport

The mission of the Master’s of Human Nutrition program at University of Bridgeport is to prepare graduate students to:

  • Excel as professionals in the healthcare industry.
  • Deliver nutrition counseling and medical nutrition therapy (MNT) by combining an evidence-based approach with biochemical and physiological scientific knowledge.
  • Generate nutrition and lifestyle interventions to promote the optimal health of an individual.

Our completely online program is licensed and accredited by the Connecticut Board of Governors Office of Higher Education. In fact, it is the first to be accredited by the Accreditation Council of Nutrition Professional Education (ACNPE), a programmatic accrediting agency for clinical programs in advanced nutrition.

UB graduates pursue careers as clinicians, industry consultants, writers, publishers in nutrition and wellness, researchers, educators, and community health educators.

This flexible degree is ideal for students looking to enter the healthcare field and positively impact people’s lives by treating and preventing chronic diseases through nutrition and diet.

Financial aid is available, and applications are accepted on a rolling basis. There is no fee to apply, and applications open on July 15th for the fall semester, December 1st for the spring semester, and April 15th for the summer semester.

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