March 14, 2018 - Happy Dietitians Day!
For those of you who don’t know, yes, there is a day dedicated to dietitians! This day celebrates dietitians as regulated health care professionals, our commitment to using our specialized knowledge and skills to better the health of Canadians. Of course we celebrate with food, most dietitians love food, it’s one of the things that draws us to the profession!
I have worked as a Registered Dietitian for nearly five years. A career in dietetics involves lifelong learning, staying current with research and delivering evidenced-based practice, this is one of many reasons why I enjoy it. Over the years I have developed a passion for health promotion and disease prevention, which has lead me to my current position as public health dietitian in Grande Prairie. This role provides me with opportunities to collaborate with nurses, teachers and health promotion facilitators. We focus on creating healthy environments, simply put- making the healthy choice the easy choice. I’ll fill you in on a few examples of how we are working towards creating healthy eating environments in schools.
• Dietitians have developed tools to help schools make positive changes to their food environments and culture, to become more health promoting. We connect with school staff to share resources, such as toolkits for Cooking Clubs and Sports Teams, and curriculum based lesson plans. Resource development is a great example of how dietitians support healthy eating behind the scene!
• Healthy Active School Symposium is an event led by Ever Active Schools. Dietitians develop and facilitate workshops to student leaders. It is an amazing opportunity for students to connect and brainstorm strategies on how to advocate for healthy food environments!
• Students spend nearly half their waking hours in school and consume 30-50% of their food intake while there. Implementing nutrition policies can be an effective way to improve the quality of foods served and consumed in schools. School nutrition policies may include healthy fundraisers and/or serving healthy options in vending machines and cafeterias. Dietitians have developed a step by step toolkit on how to start a School Nutrition Policy and are available for support along the way!
Working as a public health dietitian allows me to promote health using evidenced-based strategies, collaborate with healthcare professionals and build partnerships to improve the health of our community. Sounds like a dream job to me!