It is impossible to turn on the television or radio without hearing health news related to nutrition. It might be about the national rates of obesity, a research discovery related to the foods we eat, or health care costs due to unhealthy behaviors.
This only increases the demand for nutrition jobs to help combat the variety of health problems that result from poor eating habits.
According to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released in 2010, 34 percent of adults and 17 percent of children are obese. In addition, 68 percent of adults and almost one-third of children are considered overweight.
There are direct and indirect medical costs associated with overweight and obesity which have a significant impact on the U.S. healthcare system. According to research results reported by the CDC, in 1998 medical expenses attributed to overweight and obesity accounted for 9.1 percent of total U.S. medical expenditures and may have reached $78.5 billion.
While research indicates that obesity rates have leveled off in the last five to ten years, this does not lessen their impact on the healthcare system or the need to decrease rates overall. Now that the rates have stopped climbing more work will be needed by health professionals to get things moving in the right direction. This means that the presence of nutrition jobs and qualified individuals to fill them is needed now more than ever.
The types of jobs necessary to improve the eating habits and nutrition of the public are diverse.
The need for researchers in the field of nutrition will remain. Dietitians and nutritionists who specialize in counseling and translating research findings into practices that can be applied to daily living are a necessity. Due to the need for disease prevention, aging populations and public interest, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts that the need for Registered Dietitians, one type of nutrition job, is expected to grow steadily through 2014.
However, it is also important not to overlook the role of other nutrition jobs that influence the health practices of the general public. Public relations representatives for health food companies and local farmer’s markets, advocates for healthy eating campaigns and government-based positions influencing food policy will all be equally important in reducing the rates of obesity and overweight in the U.S.