RDN… Hmm, Interesting

Every RD is a Nutritionist. But NOT every Nutritionist is a RD.

What is this new credential they are calling a “RDN”?

Well, the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (AND) Board of Directors and the Commission on Dietetic Registration (CDR) have recently approved the optional use of the credential “Registered Dietitian Nutritionist” (RDN) used by Registered Dietitians now.

The new optional RDN credential will not affect licensure or other state regulations. Plus many state licensure/certification laws already use the term “Nutritionist” (i.e.: LDN or CDN)

Many people, and especially RDs, are wondering why the Academy is offering this new credential. The reasoning behind this is to further enhance the RD brand and more accurately reflect to consumers who RDs are and what they do. This makes sense, when the Academy puts it like this…

This will distinguish the demanding credential requirements and focus that all RDs are Nutritionists but NOT all Nutritionists are RDs.  

The inclusion of the word “Nutritionist” in the credential itself, communicates a larger concept of wellness and treatment of conditions. This option is also consistent with the inclusion of the word “nutrition” in the Academy’s new name. Again, this makes sense and definitely seems innovative for the future of the Academy.

There is an increased awareness of the Academy’s role as a key organization in food and nutrition by media, government agencies, allied health organizations and consumers. This provides additional rationale for the incorporation of the word “nutrition” into the RD credential resulting in the optional RDN credential.  

But, here lies a substantial question… Was there any AND member input considered?

In 2010, the Academy began exploring the option of offering the RDN credential. It was supported by participants in the 2011 Future Connections Summit and most recently by the Council on Future Practice in its 2012 Visioning Report. The recommendation was shared and discussed in the House of Delegates at the Fall 2012 meeting. The 2013 joint meeting of the major organizational units (CDR, Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics (ACEND), Council on Future Practice, Education Committee, and Nutrition and Dietetics Educators and Preceptors (DPG)) supported moving forward.

But here is my question- Do RDs have to use the RDN credential now?

No. The RDN credential is offered as an option to RDs who want to emphasize the nutrition aspect of their credential to the public and to other health practitioners. Plus, the new RDN credential has the exact same meaning and legal trademark definitions as the RD credential.

The credentials should be used, identical as a RD credential.

So, for example: Jess Brantner, RD = Jess Brantner, RDN. —-> (In time my friends… In good time)

The new RDN credential should be prioritized just like a RD credential, when other credentials are involved. So, 1st– Graduate degree credential, 2nd– RDN or RD, 3rd– special certifications with the CDR (CSSD, CSO, CSP, CSG, CSR), 4th– licensure designation or other certifications like Certified Diabetes Educator (CDE).

Here is the twist to my story- the CDR registration identification cards WILL include both the RD AND RDN credentials. So, be on the lookout for your 2013-2014 CDR registration identification cards, because it will have both credentials listed! But, don’t worry about costs, because there will be no additional fee for all these changes.

The opportunity to use the RDN credential is offered to RDs who want to directly convey the nutrition aspects of their training and expertise.

“This option reflects who Registered Dietitians are and what we do,” says Registered Dietitian Nutritionist and Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics President Ethan Bergman. “The message for the public is: Look for the RD – and now, the RDN – credential when determining who is the best source of safe and accurate nutrition information,” Bergman says. “All Registered Dietitians are Nutritionists, but not all Nutritionists are Registered Dietitians. So when you’re looking for qualified food and nutrition experts, look for the RD or RDN credential.”

AND RDN

Happy RDN Day?

Happy RD Day!

Happy Registered Dietitian (RD) Day!!

March 13th celebrates Registered Dietitian Day! This celebration occurs every year during National Nutrition Month, which is March. RDs are the public’s go-to healthcare professionals when they need reliable nutrition information, in this field. RDs pull from their experience to create a personalized nutrition plan for people of every age. These are the professionals that are able to separate facts from fads and translate nutritional science into information you, the consumer/client/patient, can use!

Dietitians can improve the health of Americans and save money through healthcare costs. Medical nutrition therapy (MNT) provided by RDs is critical in preventing the top 3 chronic illnesses. It is well documented that MNT is associated with a decrease in utilization of hospital services of 9.5% for patients with diabetes and 8.6% for patients with cardiovascular disease. Also noteworthy is that participation in community-based programs that focused on improving nutrition and increasing physical activity had a 58% decrease in incidence of Type 2 Diabetes.

Registered Dietitians assist to promote a net decrease in healthcare utilization and costs for most people. The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation estimates that in Idaho, for every $1 spent in wellness programs, companies could save $3.27 in medical costs and $2.73 in absenteeism costs. Some interventions have been shown to help improve nutrition and activity habits in just 1 year and had a return of $1.17 for every $1 spent. Reducing the average BMI in the state of Idaho by 5% could lead to health care savings of more than $1 billion in 10 years and $3 billion in 20 years.

Well, unfortunately Wild and Wonderful West Virginia isn’t as lucky as ole Idaho. West Virginia still leads the nation in obesity, and was recently named the state with the highest number of overweight residents in the union. According to the 2012 Gallup-Healthways Well-being Index released last week, 33.5% of West Virginia’s population is considered obese.

Mississippi is the closest with an obesity rate of 32.2%. Arkansas has a rate of 31.4%, Louisiana is 30.9% and Alabama is listed at 30.4%, to round out the top five.

Residents of the Mountain State believe that a reason for the high obesity rate is the change in physical jobs and increase in availability of fast food. The combination of lack of physical activity and the ready access of fast food and junk food in homes has really contributed to the epidemic. On the flip side of our state, nutrition-related efforts seem to be working as West Virginia is no longer in the top five for childhood obesity!

With the help from schools and communities, West Virginia is increasing physical activity and need for healthier foods. As a unit we are advocating and promoting activity and nutrition. I think it seems to be helping! All thanks to those RDs out there!!!

Job outlook: According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Nutrition and Dietetics careers are expected to increase much faster (by 20%) than other jobs by 2020 and faster than many other industries within health care. In 2010, the median annual salary for RDs was $53,250, at $23.60 an hour. And the number of jobs available in the nutrition and dietetics field was 64,400.

Money Bags

Bureau of Labor Statistics

Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics

Fat West Virginia

Nutrition in the Community

RD Day 2013

RD Day