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University of Rhode Island — Nutrition and Dietetics
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The Field
What is Nutrition and Dietetics?

Nutrition is the study of the action of the biologically active components of food and their role in maintaining human health. Nutritionists study the role of nutrients, the body's requirements for nutrients throughout life, and the effects of inadequate intakes on health and well-being.

Dietetics is the application of nutrition to help people achieve and maintain health throughout their life-span. A Registered Dietitian is an integral part of the health care team who helps people meet their nutritional needs in health and illness through diet counseling and nutrition support.


Important Topics and Issues

This is an exciting time to study nutrition and dietetics. There is substantial evidence that what we eat affects our health and quality of life. Dietary factors are implicated in four of the ten major causes of death in the United States. Obesity is now considered endemic nationwide and is linked to the increasing prevalence of diabetes which may be controlled through careful dietary planning. Concerns about the safety of the food supply have also increased and there is a major federal initiative to improve food safety procedures. Additionally, food security is a growing problem for limited-resource families. The URI Department of Nutrition and Food Sciences addresses these and related issues through our teaching, research and outreach programs.