In light of the economic downturn and the American health crisis, getting a degree in nutrition is a wise career move. The healthcare sector has largely been unaffected by the recession, and rates of obesity and weight-related chronic illnesses have unfortunately continued to skyrocket. Pursuing a degree in the field of healthcare, and specifically nutrition, is likely a wise career move: there will be jobs, and there will be great demand for these jobs.
Within nutrition programs, there is growing interest in pursuing a holistic nutrition degree. A holistic approach to nutrition takes into account the hard science of calories, fats, carbohydrates, and proteins, but it also considers a person’s life as a whole.
Many people who are obese already know that they should choose water over soda and carrot sticks over chips, yet for whatever reason, they don’t. A professional with a holistic nutrition degree will explore deeper into why. Are you so tired after work that you’re too tired to cook a healthy meal? Do you eat junk food when you’re feeling down? Are your cravings for sugar so strong that you truly can’t resist the cookies?
These are the kinds of issues that someone with a holistic nutrition degree will explore. Eating and exercise are intrinsically tied to other factors in your life – work, relationships, where you live, how you feel – so it only makes sense to consider the entire picture. This holistic approach can even extend to issues about environmentalism and morality. Eating locally grown, pesticide-free organic food, for example, impacts both the environment and the economy, and can become a highly political matter.
It’s possible to get a holistic nutrition degree in several different ways. One can follow the traditional nutrition route and enroll in an accredited college to become a registered dietitian. Though registered dietitians primarily remain focused on diagnosis and prescribed treatments, there are subsets of the American Dietetic Association that are concerned with holistic and environmental issues. Hunger and Environmental Nutrition, for example, is a dietetic practice group that promotes access to nutritious food and clean water from sustainable sources.
It’s also possible to pursue a holistic nutrition degree through various certification programs. The Institute for Integrative Nutrition offers a health coach training program that covers over 100 different dietary theories – everything from Ayurveda to the Zone – and teaches the concept that no one diet works for everyone. Graduates get certified as Health Coaches and are trained to help clients identify goals and overcome their personal obstacles to health and wellness.
Either by pursuing a holistic path as a registered dietitian or training to become a Health Coach, getting a holistic nutrition degree is a smart way to enter a rapidly growing industry. Equally important, it’s also a powerful way to fight against the growing health crisis and help the world become a healthier, happier place.
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