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What Does a Pediatric Dietitian Do?

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  • Written By: Tiffany Manley
  • Edited By: Shereen Skola
  • Last Modified Date: 20 November 2016
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Creating nutrition programs and evaluating policies designed for patients 18 or younger are usually the main responsibilities of a pediatric dietitian. Other tasks such as assisting parents with weight management for their children or prescribing the best nutrition program for a school to follow might also be completed depending upon his or her work location. Generally, details surrounding food and infants, children, or adolescents is his or her area of expertise.

In a hospital setting, this type of career typically involves working closely with parents and caregivers to implement specific dietary programs. Some children may need assistance with managing their weight, while others might need menus that conform to food restrictions as a result of an illness or allergy. Often, it is difficult for those who have not been specifically trained to work with situations such as these to find a solution, meaning a pediatric dietitian is usually very useful.

The education field is another setting one might find a pediatric dietitian. Here the focus shifts from what is best for an individual to what is best for a group as a whole. This type of work might involve planning school breakfast and lunch menus, deciding which snacks are served at a snack stand, or assisting parents in learning how to prepare healthy meals at home. Some even take up advocacy positions in an attempt to keep a school's food healthy and nutritionally rich for the students.

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Determining broad dietary guidelines to be implemented by public and private agencies is another task a pediatric dietitian might handle. A government regulatory body may want to develop proper nutrition guidelines and would usually consult someone working in this field to do so. His or her knowledge of this subject would likely assist in developing safe and accurate guidelines for a wide range of individuals. Likewise, employers in facilities such as day care centers or private schools might choose to consult someone in this field to ensure the meals being provided are nutritionally beneficial.

Education is usually an important part of a job as a pediatric dietitian. In addition to what is needed to begin working in the position, continuing education is generally necessary. Nutritional guidelines usually change over time which makes knowledge of such very beneficial when working with others. This generally gives the pediatric dietitian the ability to make the most accurate recommendations possible, providing the best outcomes for his or her customers.

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