by Tashun Chism
Registered Dietians are an important part of many medicals staffs, including ones here in East Texas. But many people aren't sure what they do.
Amy McLeod, Registered Dietitian for Woodland Heights and Spokesperson for the Texas Dietetic Association, said there are a lot of misconceptions. "I've gotten, 'you're the cafeteria lady,' and 'what do you do? write menus?' most people think that's all we do."
Dietitians are highly trained food and nutrition experts. Their job is to help people get the most vitamins, minerals and nutrients from the foods they choose without getting too many calories. And you may find them in some unexpected places.
"We work in hospitals, we work for super markets. We work in nursing home. Most health care facilities require registered dietitians on staff," said McLeod.
One of the main goals of dietitians is to fight obesity and all the illnesses it causes. Childhood obesity is a huge problem that east texas dietitians hope to fix. At memorial hospital, they've teamed up with state legislators to help fight diabetes among Lufkin Middle School Students.
Tim Scallon, A Registered Dietition for Memorial Hospital in Lufkin, said, "We're conducting a pilot study with the schools right now and dietitians arte teaching those classes to the students on how to eat better and make better healthy choices."
Experts tell us there are certain things children and adults should do to fight obesity-related illnesses.
"Learn to read labels. Be concious of what you put into your body. Excercise. Look for fat in foods, try to eat leaner, eat lots of fruits and vegetables, try to generally eat what you know is healthy," Scallon suggested.