Locations of nutrition practice
While nutrition information is readily available and the basic advice is reasonably clear, the science of nutrition is actually quite complex and sometimes more is needed than just the basic information. The earlier chapters of this book demonstrate the breadth of knowledge in nutrition. Many years of education are required to do justice to all these areas, but there comes a point where students of nutrition can be of value in translating nutrition knowledge for others and working with various groups in applying nutrition knowledge and skills to help solve problems and contribute to innovation. Providing expert advice and engaging in activities that draw on knowledge and skills depends on the context. In the case of healthcare services, accreditation and recognition of particular skills training in the healthcare context is required. In research, public health programs and policy development, and food innovation and marketing there is greater variation of the requirements for nutrition, depending on the task at hand. Even so, formal recognised training and experience are important elements in determining who is best to do the job. Governments play a large role in the public health arena. Given the fundamental nature of the relationship between food and health, governments drive policies, programs and activities that are strongly linked to food and nutrition. There is a very wide array of locations in which nutrition practitioners can contribute, and in which they are required to ensure a nutrition science base to these activities. Many of these practitioners will also be engaged in research, either entirely as researchers or in a focused way with other responsibilities. There is a strong interdependence between nutrition research and practice, as they both inform each other. Practice is dependent on scientific evidence and research is dependent on questions derived from practice. Problems arise when the methodologies of research do not adequately address the needs of practice, that is, the path to translation is difficult. Thus collaboration and cooperation are important in all the research and practice areas of nutrition. Collaboration is particularly important in the food industry domain. From the perspective of the whole value chain of food production, nutrition applications in the food industry range from research and food innovation through to marketing and communications and regulatory affairs. There are many opportunities for students,hained in nutrition to contribute to organisations associated with food and nutrition. This chapter explores the dimensions of nutrition practice in these main locations.