Dietetics supply and demand: 2010-2020

J Acad Nutr Diet. 2012 Mar;112(3 Suppl):S75-91. doi: 10.1016/j.jand.2011.12.024.


The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, in conjunction with the Commission on Dietetic Registration (CDR), invited The Lewin Group to undertake an analysis of the dietetics workforce. The purpose of the workforce study was to develop a model that can project the supply and demand for both registered dietitians (RDs) and dietetic technicians, registered (DTRs) (collectively referred to as CDR-credentialed dietetics practitioners) as the result of various key drivers of change. The research team was asked to quantify key market factors where possible and to project likely paths for the evolution of workforce supply and demand, as well as to assess the implications of the findings. This article drew on the survey research conducted by Readex Research and futurist organizations such as Signature i and Trend Spot Consulting. Furthermore, members of the Dietetics Workforce Demand Task Force were a source of institutional and clinical information relevant to the credentialed dietetics workforce--including their opinions and judgment of the current state of the health care market for dietetic services, its future state, and factors affecting it, which were useful and were integrated with the objective sources of data. The model is flexible and accommodates the variation in how RDs and DTRs function in diverse practice areas. For purposes of this study and model, the dietetics workforce is composed of RDs and DTRs. This report presents the results of this workforce study and the methodology used to calculate the projected dietetics workforce supply and demand. The projections are based on historical trends and estimated future changes. Key findings of the study included the following: • The average age of all CDR-credentialed dietetics practitioners in baseline supply (2010) is 44 years; approximately 96% are women. • Approximately 55% of CDR-credentialed dietetics practitioners work in clinical dietetics. • The annual growth rate of supply of CDR-credentialed dietetics practitioners declined from 3% in the early 1990s to 1.5% by 2010. • The net supply of CDR-credentialed dietetics practitioners is projected to grow by 1.1% annually. • Approximately 75% of the demand for the dietetics workforce will be met by the 2020 supply of CDR-credentialed dietetics practitioners. • The aging population, health care reform, increased prevalence of certain conditions (including obesity), and growth in the food industry are key factors affecting the demand.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Age Distribution
  • Chronic Disease / epidemiology
  • Demography
  • Dietetics / trends*
  • Female
  • Food Services / trends
  • Forecasting*
  • Health Care Reform*
  • Health Services Needs and Demand*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Nutrition Policy / trends
  • United States
  • Workforce