Report Title

How Well Do the Eating Habits of Registered Dietitian Nutritionists' in the United States Align with Their Teaching Patterns?

Collective Title

Master of Science in Nutrition and Dietetics Research Reports 2020


Background: Dietary Guidelines for Americans is a resource available and designed for professionals to help people make healthy choices to avoid chronic disease. Exploration of the Registered Dietitian Nutritionist (RDN) core health values may improve the profession’s ability to address gaps in understanding health beliefs and behaviors.

Objective: To determine whether the teaching patterns of RDNs align with their individual eating habits through a self-selected survey.

Design: Quantitative study design.

Participants/Setting: An email was sent to approximately 5,000 RDNs through the Commission of Dietetic Registration registry and 425 responded. The anonymous survey consisted of two major domains: eating patterns among RDNs and eating patterns taught by RDNs. Demographics included: age, education, scope of practice, location, income, special diet, and employment status.

Main Outcome Measures: The main outcomes measured were eating patterns followed by RDNs and eating patterns taught by RDNs.

Statistical Analyses Performed: A chi-square test was used to examine the association between the outcome variable with each qualitative variable. Kendall’s tau-b and Cohen's κ non-parametric tests were used to examine the correlations and agreements between two ordinal food frequencies: what fit them the best versus what they recommend. Data was analyzed using SPSS Statistics Software version 25.0 with an alpha level of 0.05.

Results: A significant difference was seen between question 2) “If you counseled yourself based on your current eating habits, would you change anything?” and question 3) “Have you experimented with dieting?” (p=0.001). A significant difference was seen between 1) primary tools taught versus primary teaching tools, 2) primary tools followed in personal diet versus primary tools teaching, and 3) personal choices versus counseling choices (p= 0.007, p= 0.000, p=0.000 respectively).

Conclusion: It’s essential for RDNs to continue as role models, fostering enhanced RDN 3 client/patient relationships and improving personal eating habits. Although 68% of RDNs would change their diets (vegetable and sodium intake), fundamental education and counseling is still being provided to clients and patients. Using tools and guidelines RDNs follow in their personal dietary habits coincides to their teachings. Further research is needed to expand on these positive findings.

LLU Discipline

Nutrition and Dietetics


Nutrition and Dietetics


School of Allied Health Professions

First Advisor

Georgia Hodgkin

Second Advisor

Gurinder Bains

Third Advisor

Lida Gharibvand

Fourth Advisor

JeJe Noval

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Degree Level


Year Degree Awarded


Date (Title Page)





Diet -- standards -- United States; FOOD habits; NUTRITION surveys;


Research Report

Page Count

21 p.

Digital Format


Digital Publisher

Loma Linda University Libraries

Usage Rights

This title appears here courtesy of the author, who has granted Loma Linda University a limited, non-exclusive right to make this publication available to the public. The author retains all other copyrights.


Loma Linda University Research Reports

Collection Website


Loma Linda University. University Libraries.