Preparing public health nutritionists to meet the future.J Am Diet Assoc. 1986 Apr; 86(4):511-4.JA
Public health nutrition personnel have been defined as those specialized nutrition professionals and paraprofessionals who provide nutrition services through agencies whose mandate is health protection and promotion, disease prevention, and/or primary care to people in the community. Educators preparing graduate level nutritionists for future demands of federal, state, and local public health programs must read the scientific, technological, and societal trends, including changes in demographics, health delivery systems, communications technologies, and consumer demands. As research more clearly defines the role of nutrition and diet in human health, nutritionists should be educated to monitor trends and be proactive in seeking emerging opportunities. It is nutritionists' responsibility to assure that scientific findings in nutrition, dietetics, and food science are considered in policy formulation as well as in the technical input into agency and community programs. The nutritionist who understands the changing values and life-styles of diverse populations uses acceptable techniques to motivate any necessary behavior changes. To be effective in the community, he/she uses community assessment, epidemiological, and program planning skills basic to public health practice. In the current climate of cost containment, the public health nutritionist will successfully compete for dwindling funds by managing programs with skill and documenting cost benefits and cost-effectiveness.