Nutritionist Job Outlook
The demand for nutritionists is rising. There are currently about 60,000 nutritionists and dieticians in the United States. Nutritionist jobs fill a variety of different roles from Community Nutritionists, to Clinical Nutritionists, to Sports Nutritionists. Whatever their role, nutritionist help people eat better and live healthie lives.
In recent years, there has been a dramatic increase in obesity in the U.S. According to the Centers For Disease Control and Prevention, only one state (Colorado) in 2008 had a prevalence of obesity less than twenty percent of the population. Thirty–two states had a prevalence equal to or greater than twenty five percent of the popluation. Six states (Alabama, Mississippi, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, and West Virginia) had obesity rates equal to or greater than thirty percent of the population.
Why the Increase in Nutritionist Jobs
Obesity is a large factor in the increase in rates of diabetes, high–blood pressure, certain types of cancer, osteoarthritis, and heart disease, among other diseases. Obesity is preventable but many people need medical assistance to combat it. Management and prevention of diabetes requires the expertise of a nutritionist. Nutritionists help with the regulation of insulin, dietary management, and counseling.
As the United States’ population grows and the baby boomer generation ages, their will be increased demand for nutritional treatment and counseling. Also, as the public becomes more aware of the dangers of obesity and diabetes, there is increased emphasis on health education. Medicare coverage has recently been expanded to include medical nutrition therapy for diabetic and renal patients.
Nutritionists with an advanced degree, specialized training, experience, and certifications beyond the state minmum will have the best job opportunities. Experienced nutritionists may advanced to management postions such as assistant director, or director of a dietetic department, or may go into self–employment. Specializations with the most demand are diabetic, rental, and gerontological (senior citizens) nutrition. They will be best positioned to benefit from future nutritionist job growth.