Who are they and what do they do? A nutritionist is an expert, who resolves various problems relating to healthy nutrition. s/he mostly works in the health service, where s/he in collaboration with a medical specialist ensures well-balanced and curative nutrition according to the latest medical knowledge in this field. The work is very close to that of the dietitian, and the two roles may overlap quite easily. The key difference between nutritionists and dietitians, is that nutritionists have a greater emphasis on working with healthy people and groups in an advisory capacity, to prevent illness, whereas dietitians tend to focus on curative activities with individuals already suffering from diet-related problems, or who could be helped by adopting a particular diet.
What are the activities of the job? At health institutions s/he adapts the curative nutrition to the current circumstances, based on individual consideration and discussion with patients. S/he regulates the serving of food to patients, according to their health conditions and needs. S/he supervises the correctness of, and adherence to, hygiene regulations during the serving of food to patients. S/he informs individual patients about the possibilities of individual changes in a menu served during their home treatment. S/he may also work at large public catering institutions, where s/he supervises especially adherence to the rules of well-balanced nutrition. His/her job duties often include the control of a catering establishment, standardisation of the food regulations, the preparation of a menu, the calculations of energy and biological value of foodstuffs. S/he may also find job opportunities in the area of research, education and the advisory services.
What tools/equipment do they use? The spoken or written word, information technology, special tables of energy and biological values of foodstuffs and of main dishes commonly served in that culture.
Where is it done and under what conditions? In residential health establishments, hospitals, sanatoria and health resorts, in kindergartens and school canteens, in governmental and private public catering organisations, but also at charity organisations, research institutes and consultancy firms. Nutritionists may also be employed by major food manufacturers and large food retailers, and in journalism. The working environment will then include offices similar to those used by many other professional employees.
What do you need to succeed? You need higher or university education, with a medical, biological, food, pharmaceutical or chemical specialisation, together with patience and ability to work in a team.