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This blog was written by Erika Armetta, RD, LDN, a clinical dietitian specialist at LifeBridge Health.

March is National Nutrition Month, a nutrition education and information campaign created by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. The campaign focuses on the importance of making informed food choices and developing sound eating and physical activity habits.

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With all the information that we are constantly bombarded with on a daily basis, it is comforting to have a trusted resource to which you can turn when it comes to nutrition.

It is often difficult to discern what we should pay attention to in terms of online healthcare information. Constant notifications popping up on our phones and computers, 24/7 news and media available any time the TV is on, and radio commercials can pull our focus away from what we have control over.

Being able to determine our own goals, which information to trust, and choices with which we use that information to make is imperative to sustainable, long-term nutrition goals. The internet contains a vast array of nutrition information that can sometimes be inaccurate. As about 50% of chronic diseases in the U.S. are attributed to poor eating and exercise habits, nutrition misinformation can potentially be harmful. It’s important to seek advice from someone who is trained to critically analyze research and personalize an approach for your specific needs and goals.

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Although anyone can call themselves a “nutritionist,” a registered dietitian/nutritionist (RD/RDN) has a minimum of a bachelor’s degree in nutrition or dietetics under their belt. While earning their degrees, dietitians take courses in chemistry, biochemistry, anatomy, and physiology—along with human nutrition and medical nutrition therapy—to understand links between food, nutrients, and disease. RDNs must also complete an accredited practice program involving direct patient care and counseling and pass a rigorous national registration exam in order to use the RD/RDN credential.

Registered dietitians provide medical nutrition therapy (MNT), defined in Medicare MNT legislation as “nutritional diagnostic, therapy, and counseling services for the purpose of disease management which are furnished by a registered dietitian or nutrition professional.” As nutrition experts, RDNs provide personalized advice to help manage chronic disease, allergies and food intolerances. They can also assist in making long-term behavioral changes and support goals that an individual wants to achieve. The RDN is a valuable and credible source of timely, scientifically based food and nutrition information and is committed to helping people enjoy healthier lives.

As so much conflicting information is present in our daily lives, it’s important to recognize this year’s National Nutrition Month theme of “Personalize Your Plate.” One size does not fit all and there is no such thing as “the perfect diet” for everyone.

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This month, start to find healthy habits that are buildable for you and fit your unique lifestyle, background, and goals. Start with manageable targets and seek nutrition advice from credible resources, or find a local dietitian to assist you with creating a sustainable way of living a healthier life.