While the titles of registered dietitian and nutritionist are sometimes used interchangeably, they are not the same.
A Registered Dietitian nutritionist is a food and nutrition expert who has met academic and professional requirements including: at minimum a bachelor’s degree with course work approved by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics (ACEND 2014)
A nutritionist is a person who advises on matters of food and nutrition’s impact on health. This term is used in different settings and is not associated with any sort of professional regulation or educational requirements
Registered dietitians/nutritionists (RD/RDN’s) may work in a variety of settings, including: hospitals and clinics, the food industry, public health and schools systems, the pharmaceutical industry and more
Even within medical nutrition therapy (MNT – working directly with patients), there are numerous subspecialties: cancer, weight management, eating disorders, kidney disease, diabetes, pediatrics and more.
When seeking nutritional advice for a child, go to an expert, such as an RD/RDN with specific experience in pediatric nutrition (ie. Board Certified Specialist in Pediatric Nutrition) or a physician who works with experienced RD/RDN’s.