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Different College Majors in Health and Nutrition

There has never been a better time to enter the fields of health and nutrition. First of all, the baby boom generation is heading towards retirement, which means age-related health and wellness issues will be in huge demand over the next several decades. More and more people are focusing on nutrition as a way to maintain optimum health over the long term, and each year new evidence comes to light linking nutrition with proper health. Regardless of which direction you want to take this knowledge as far as a specific career goes, you will definitely find options that are lucrative, competitive and personally quite fulfilling. But before you can ever take on a client or see a patient you must earn a degree. So here is a quick look at some of the different college majors in health and nutrition.

One of the hottest majors within this industry is food science. This is a specialized program, and most people graduate with a B.S. instead of a B.A. Basically, the goal of the food scientist is to help people live longer and with better health by managing a balanced, well-rounded diet. But it goes deeper than simple nutrition. The food science degree looks into the biological and chemical elements of our food. Instead of just amending recipes for optimum health, the food science major will teach you how the various ingredients affect our health. You won't be leaning on diet trends or common ways of thinking, but will see how food works on the molecular level. As a food scientist, you will be preparing for a life of lab work. You will most likely be working for a food manufacturing company, helping to improve their formulas and their practices. These days consumers care a great deal about the ingredients going into their food. Even pre-packaged products are expected to be healthy, and must be transparent about their ingredients. With a food science degree you will help these companies give consumers what they want.

You can also find schools that offer a nutrition major. With this specialization you will go on to work as a nutritionist or a dietician. While you will work with food as well, and often create meal plans or even come up with your own program, education is a large piece of the pie. Nutritionists spend more time teaching classes and educating people than planning specific meals. You'll learn how to work within a hospital, a school or a corporation to manage the health and well-being of a large group of people through the food they eat. As a dietician you will probably lean on a more hands-on skill set. You'll focus on improving the health of specific patients, which means learning how nutrition impacts those with special needs. Perhaps you'll focus on diabetes, or reducing cancerous tissues through proper food choices. Or you'll work with the obese, and learn how foods impact different body types.

On the flip side of that coin is a major in health and medical sciences. This is a fantastic degree choice as a precursor for all sorts of options in the wellness field. Many students fulfill this major before going to medical school. But even if a future career as a surgeon isn't for you, you could end up working in healthcare administration, rehabilitation, or even forensic medicine. You'll receive a true education in the field of health that sets you up for a wide range of graduate degrees. Just check out some of the opportunities at a school like the University of Cincinnati to see the wide range of directions you could take within the healthcare industry with this degree.