/ by Sean O'Nan, MS, RD, LD
Written by Sean O'Nan, a registered dietitian at UK Markey Cancer Center.
Since 1980, March has been recognized as National Nutrition Month® across the United States. This annual celebration, created by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, is a time to educate the public about the importance of making productive health choices, from choosing the right foods to getting the proper amount of exercise.
Eating healthy has long been seen as a great way to help prevent chronic disease as well as to promote overall good health. The U.S. Department of Health & Human Services reports that a poor diet is associated with major health risks that can cause illness and death, even for people at a healthy weight. These include heart disease, hypertension (high blood pressure), Type 2 diabetes, osteoporosis and certain types of cancer.
So how can you start improving your diet? Reaching out to a registered dietitian is a great first step!
What is a registered dietitian?
A registered dietitian (RD) or registered dietitian nutritionist (RDN) is a nutrition expert who has completed a rigorous education in food and nutrition. Their education requires that certain benchmarks are met, including a minimum of a bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university with approved course work from the Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics (ACEND) of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, completion of an accredited supervised practice program, successful completion of a national exam administered by the Commission on Dietetic Registration (CDR), and completion of required continued education.
How can a registered dietitian help me?
Dietitians help monitor your nutrition status and provide valuable insight as to how to better your nutritional intake. Registered dietitians work in a variety of clinical settings including hospitals (both inpatient and outpatient), nursing homes, rehab facilities, and dialysis centers as well as in the community working for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC), large food service corporations, government health agencies, and more.
If you have questions about ways to improve your diet or would like dietary recommendations regarding your chronic health conditions, a dietitian can help navigate your current diet and educate you on possible changes. The dietitians at Markey Cancer Center can help you with nutrition-related issues that may arise as a result of your specific cancer diagnosis or types of cancer treatments.
If you are interested in additional resources or information about National Nutrition Month, you can visit EatRight.org for fun games and handouts on how to engage your friends and family in healthy eating.
For additional information regarding diet and nutrition for cancer patients at Markey Cancer Center, please call 859-323-2798 and ask to speak with a registered dietitian.