This law provides for the licensure of dietitians, and it defines an exclusive scope of practice for them. Only a person licensed or otherwise authorized to practice under this law may practice dietetics/nutrition, provide nutrition care services, use the title “dietitian/nutritionist” or the words “dietitian” or “nutritionist” alone or in combination, or use the letters L.D., L.N.,
The law defines the practice of dietetics/nutrition as: “[T]he integration and application of the principles derived from the sciences of nutrition, biochemistry, food, physiology, management, and behavioral and social sciences to achieve and maintain people’s health through the provision of nutrition care services.” This includes:
- Assessing the nutritional needs of individuals and groups, and determining resources and constraints in the practice setting;
- Establishing priorities, goals, and objectives that meet nutritional needs and are consistent with available resources and constraints;
- Providing nutrition counseling in health and disease according to established guidelines of care;
- Developing, implementing, and managing nutrition care systems; and
- Evaluating, making changes in, and maintaining appropriate standards of quality in food and nutrition care services.
You may practice dietetics/nutrition with the supervision of a licensed dietitian or licensed nutritionist, and this includes if you are enrolled in an approved educational dietetics program or if you are a dietetic technician.
If you are employed by certain programs or businesses, you are not restricted from providing services and information related to non-medical nutrition. This includes if you are a nutritional educator employed by a:
- Federal, state, county or municipal agency
- Another political subdivision
- Elementary or secondary school
- Accredited institution of higher education
If you have management responsibility for food service department policies, procedures, and outcomes, including hospital food service managers and child nutrition program managers, you can provide nutritional information within the scope of your job.
You may provide general services for weight control without a license if it is reviewed by, consultation is available from, and no change to the program can be initiated without approval of, a licensed or registered dietitian. This would include a diet and exercise regimen.
Anyone can provide general nutritional information on food or dietary supplements. You are also able to market or distribute food, food materials, or dietary supplements and explain how to use or to prepare those products.
If you are licensed in a separate medical profession, you can engage in the practice of dietetics if you do not call yourself a “dietitian.” This includes dentistry, medicine, osteopathy, chiropractic, nursing, or pharmacy.
Furthermore, a registered dietitian serving in the Armed Forces, the Public Health Service of the United States, the Veteran Administration, or other federal government agencies, can provide such practice if it is related to such service or employment.