What Does a Nutrition Therapist Do?

Nick Mann

Working as a nutrition therapist involves assisting clients with improving diet and optimizing overall health. Being successful in this career usually requires a person with extensive health knowledge and excellent interpersonal skills. In general, an individual will either be employed by a healthcare clinic or fitness center, or be self-employed in a private practice. Some primary job duties of a nutrition therapist include identifying a client's health concerns, inquiring about a client's diet and exercise routine, suggesting nutritional and lifestyle changes, monitoring progress and maintaining client records.

Nutrition therapist may identify deficiencies and prescribe dietary supplements.
Nutrition therapist may identify deficiencies and prescribe dietary supplements.

Usually the first thing a nutrition therapist will do is identify a client's health concerns. For example, a client might be struggling with being overweight and experiencing a lack of energy. In another instance, a client may be looking to develop an effective exercise routine to stay in shape. Due to the wide array of possible health concerns, it's necessary for a nutrition therapist to have a broad knowledge in multiple areas of the field.

Nutrition therapists can recommend different foods to help meet a person's specific dietary goals.
Nutrition therapists can recommend different foods to help meet a person's specific dietary goals.

Along with this, it's important for him to inquire about a patient's diet and exercise routine. To get a better idea of possible dietary changes and workout plans, it's up to a nutrition therapist to pinpoint the specific problem areas. For example, a client might be struggling with excess weight due to an over-consumption of fatty foods and a lack of exercise. In some cases, he might also recommend that a client take some lab tests as well. Consequently, it's helpful to build a rapport with each client and establish a level of trust.

Nutrition therapists can help a person identify unhealthy eating habits.
Nutrition therapists can help a person identify unhealthy eating habits.

Once a nutrition therapist has an understanding of a client's health concerns and habits, it's up to him to suggest some nutritional and lifestyle changes. The specifics of these changes will vary from client to client, but might include altering the diet, using dietary supplements, taking vitamins and implementing exercise routines. Throughout the duration of change, a nutrition therapist will usually monitor the progress of each client. To ensure that a client is having measurable success, he might compare the client's current weight with his or her weight prior to treatment. He may also take a client's blood pressure, ask about energy level and overall satisfaction.

Nutrition therapists may work with athletes during training routines.
Nutrition therapists may work with athletes during training routines.

Additionally, a nutrition therapist will typically maintain each client's records. These records can include information like a client's name, age, weight, health issues, medications and lab results. Keeping accurate records is essential for quick reference and for sharing with other professionals treating the patient. In many cases, data of this type will be stored in a computer database.

Nutritionist therapists help people find alternative food choices to avoid greasy foods.
Nutritionist therapists help people find alternative food choices to avoid greasy foods.
Nutrition therapists may help parents create healthy meal plans for children.
Nutrition therapists may help parents create healthy meal plans for children.

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