Who to Talk to About Child Nutrition
The world of nutrition is a confusing place filled with new fad diets, contradicting information, and opinionated individuals who spread the word quickly. But who should you really listen to for nutrition advice?
Registered dietitians (RD) or registered dietitian nutritionists (RDN) are experts in the field of nutrition. Using up-to-date scientific research, RDs and RDNs provide care and knowledge specific to a population, such as kids with cardiac issues, or a topic like vegetarianism. An RD or RDN has completed extensive nutrition education and an accredited internship, and has passed a national certification exam. A “nutritionist” is not required to earn a bachelor’s degree or complete a structured internship in nutrition. So, while anyone can call him or herself a “nutritionist” they may not always provide you with accurate information.
When reading about nutrition in the media or receiving nutrition education, first check out who is writing and/or providing the information. Do they have the RD or RDN credential?
Specifically in the care of infants, children and adolescents, consulting an RD or RDN who specializes in pediatrics is beneficial. Children have very different needs than adults, thus the nutrition care and recommendations are different as well. Pediatric RDs or RDNs can provide specific information based on your child’s health and nutrition goals.
At Children’s Hospital Los Angeles we have over 30 RDs who are experts in the field of pediatric nutrition. The RDs at CHLA specialize in a variety of fields including cardiology, gastroenterology, nephrology, endocrinology, pulmonology and everything in between. The RDs at CHLA work closely with physicians, nurse practitioners, nurses, other team members and families to ensure that our patients receive optimal nutrition care specific to their needs. Specifically for me, working in the Division of Cardiology, we focus on ensuring our patients receive adequate nutrients to grow properly, as their heart defects often increase their calorie needs.
Consulting with an RD or RDN ensures that you are receiving the most up-to-date information, backed by evidence. Good nutrition is essential for optimal health and growth. You can trust that an RD at CHLA will help you reach your goals.