Nutritionist: Bright future for nutrition experts

In this disease-ridden world, nutritionists/dieticians will be the gatekeepers of national health both at the micro and macro levels.

If you are a health freak or a food faddist, a career as a dietician/nutritionist is just right for you! And with growing general awareness that preventive nutrition can prevent cancer, diabetes, heart attacks etc rather than treat a condition after it manifests itself clinically, the role of a dietician/nutritionist has gained greater significance. Consequently, a career in this field has become attractive.

A dietician applies the scientific principles of nutrition to the preparation of different kinds of food for people enjoying good health and for those suffering from disease. Cookery is only a small part of dietetics. In a hospital, dieticians are responsible for providing therapeutic diets to patients, especially to those for whom diet is a special part of their treatment. Dieticians may also be put in charge of all the food services in a hospital as dietician catering officers.

In the processed food industry, a dietician works on the development and improvement of food products and production methods such as new ways of preserving foods. In this sphere, dieticians work with food chemists and food technologists experimenting in food laboratories on flavour and dietetic problems. Dieticians are also employed in organisations of different types such as residential schools, offices etc. With growing interest in health foods, dieticians can set up their own health food stores or run catering services. Top-grade hotels also prefer to employ dieticians to plan for different types of guests and also to supervise the food production process.

On completion of class XII science stream students have the option to enroll for the three-year B.Sc/BA course in nutrition but most of them study dietetics only after a graduate degree in any one of the following disciplines: home science, medicine, science (with chemistry and/or microbiology), hotel management, and catering.

Some of the colleges/universities which offer undergraduate and postgraduate courses are:

University of Delhi
Marathwada University, Aurangabad
Osmania University, Hyderabad
University of Mysore, Karnataka
Manipal University, Manipur
Andhra Pradesh Agricultural University, Hyderabad
Bharatidasan University, Tiruchirapalli
Pondicherry University, Pondicherry
Mount Carmel College, Bangalore
University of Madras, Chennai
Institute of Hotel Managment, Catering and Applied Nutrition, Mumbai
Gokhale College, Kolkata
Beharilal College, Calcutta University
Home Science College, Bangalore
Womens Christian College, Chennai
Lady Irwin College, New Delhi
SNDT Womens University, Mumbai
Sophia College, Mumbai
Nirmala Niketan, Mumbai
University of Pune

Universities of Delhi, Mumbai, and Mangalore offer BA degree in Nutrition and Health Education and Management of Food Services

Six-month/one-year certificate/diploma courses in nutrition are also offered by Guwahati University, Guwahati; University of Calcutta, Kolkata; All India Institute of Hygiene and Public Health, Kolkata; Punjab University; Andhra Pradesh Open University, Hyderabad; and Sri Padmavati Mahila Viswavidyalayam, Tirupati (AP).

You can also sign up for correspondence courses in food and nutrition at the Dr. Ambedkar Open University, Hyderabad; Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar Open University, Ahmedabad; Indira Gandhi National Open University, New Delhi; Kota Open University, Kota; Nalanda Open University; and diet therapy course of SNDT Womens University, Mumbai.

With the interest in preventive healthcare growing worldwide, the need for qualified nutritionists is rising. In this disease-ridden world, nutritionists/dieticians play a very important role in preventive healthcare and they will be the gatekeepers of national health both at the micro and macro levels,” says media-celebrity nutritionist Anjali Mukherjee to whose four health clinics in Mumbai flock professionals, fashion models, air hostesses, pilots, and of course people suffering from chronic diseases like diabetes, arthritis, asthma, heart ailments etc.

A leading authority on health and nutrition, Mukherjee has been working in the field of nutrition since 1984 after graduating from the Institute of Hotel Management, Catering Technology and Applied Nutrition, Mumbai (with dietetics and nutrition) and studying clinical nutrition at the American Academy of Nutrition, California. When I started out, I wasnt quite focussed, but gradually I got totally involved in this constantly evolving science. I have evolved many diet regimens which help in controlling diseases like diabetes, asthma, arthritis, heart, hypertension etc. Our centres help people get rid of excess weight which could lead to awful cellulite, arthritis, diabetes, and other complications. I firmly believe that its not the calories that count, its where they come from thats important,” says Mukherjee.

HEALTH TOTAL. Mukherjee who has given a new dimension to nutrition, has formed a company along with her husband Saurabh, called Health Total which manufactures a whole range of branded health foods, which she says are nutritious and high in fibre content. Through proper diet prescription we have rejuvenated patients and changed their lifestyles. I mix ayurvedic herbs together with food and find this combination very effective. I hope a multiplying number of people will become aware of the role of diet in their health as food affects every part of your system. Doctors have also become more aware of nutrition as theres a strong connection between food, mind, and body,” says Mukherjee.

Mukherjees advice to career minded youth? Today a career in nutrition may not seem very interesting but the future is very bright. A large number of food and agriculture multinationals are setting up shop in India and health awareness within the nations numerically huge middle class is increasing.

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