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March 1, 2024

As the seasons change from winter to spring, we find ourselves looking forward to newness and change. Often, these changes involve betterment of our health and well-being. Every year in March, dietitians across Canada and the United States celebrate Nutrition Month, a month-long event that highlights the role of registered dietitians as food and nutrition experts in various settings. This year, the Dietitians of Canada theme for Nutrition month is “We are Dietitians”, which aims to increase awareness and recognize the efforts of registered dietitians in improving the health of Canadians.

You may be wondering, “Why are registered dietitians so special? Aren’t nutritionists and dietitians the same people? Both have something to do with telling me how to eat”.  Indeed, there is often confusion about the role of a registered dietitian and a nutritionist, and while there may be some intersection in their services, the two professions are vastly different in how they operate and regulate.  For example, registered dietitians are provincially regulated health professionals and need to complete a 4-year accredited bachelor’s degree as well as an accredited practical training, in the form of an integrated internship or post-graduate program, in order to write the national licensing exam called CDRE (Canadian Dietetic Registration Examination).  The pathway to becoming a registered dietitian may be different for those who are internationally trained and educated, but the licensing exam is the same for all those who wish to obtain the credentials and practice as a Registered Dietitian (RD) in Canada. In contrast, a nutritionist may have the same educational background as a dietitian but they do not have the same practical training. Nutritionists are also not provincially regulated as a health profession, meaning that there is no regulatory body to ensure that nutritionists are providing evidence-based, safe, and ethical information to their clients.

With easy access to nutrition information on the internet, anyone can read research articles and disseminate information to others without any accountability for their recommendations. However, registered dietitians are trained in appraising research articles and critically analyze nutrition information to minimize the spread of misinformation and only provide recommendations that can be supported with high quality research and evidence.

This March, LAMP Community Health Centre and the West Toronto Diabetes Education program are participating in Nutrition Month by introducing you to the registered dietitians on our team. We have some exciting activities planned as well, so keep a look out for how you can get involved and learn more about your community dietitian and diabetes educator dietitians.

Happy Nutrition Month!

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LAMP Community Health Centre

185 Fifth St
Etobicoke, ON M8V 2Z5