When the average dietetics student envisions where they see themselves in 10 years, a corporate office building typically does not come to mind. However, employee wellness programs are becoming increasingly popular due to the extensive list of perks that not only benefit the employees but also the company. Businesses can save thousands on healthcare costs as well as improve employee productivity, absenteeism and stress.
After spending eight weeks with the wellness director — who happens to be an RDN — at a large retail chain’s corporate headquarters, I’m sharing four top reasons why a dietitian is the ideal candidate for a wellness position:
Able to Assess and Screen Participants
Many people perceive themselves as being in good health because risk factors such as high blood pressure have few symptoms. With a solid clinical foundation and understanding of the Nutrition Care Process, RDNs are more than capable of helping employees understand their risk for disease, provide biometric screenings, interpret lab values and guide them to making positive changes before conditions become chronic or life-threatening.
Evidence-based Counseling Skills
RDNs can help employees understand how their behaviors, lifestyle and eating habits affect their health through weekly or biweekly individual or group counseling sessions. Not only do dietitians have the skills and education to help bring health disparities to light, but they also are trained to help people set achievable goals while keeping them accountable.
Onsite Wellness Events
With all of their experience and education in nutrition, RDNs can hold wellness events onsite without always having to bring in outside speakers. For example, RDNs can provide lunch-and-learns, promote or create healthy menus in the cafeteria, lead weight management classes, create wellness newsletters and handouts, host cooking demonstrations — the list goes on!
Unlike many other health-related professions, dietitians have an understanding of foodservice management that can be of great help when implementing changes in onsite food outlets.
If you have an interest in being a corporate wellness RDN, don’t be afraid to apply for the position! You have the skills and education that can support the success of any wellness program out there.