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.