We’re in Denver for ADA’s annual Food and Nutrition Conference and Expo. One of the most interesting aspects of this conference is that you hardly see men here. Nutrition and dietetics is a field dominated by women.
In speaking with several dietitians yesterday, we learned that the field of nutrition studies branched out from what used to be called Home-Economics. And Home-Ec, as people may recall from high-school, is something that girls took, while boys took shop classes.
This may have put the profession at a disadvantage compared to more gender balanced fields from a salary perspective. Dietitians on average make less than $50,000 a year, compared to doctors with $200,000.
We recently posted a comparison of doctors vs. dietitians pointing to the fact that if more energy was invested in prevention through sound diets, many of the obesity related healthcare costs the US is facing would be slashed.
Unfortunately, eating healthily is perceived by many men in this country as effeminate. “Gimme my meat and potatoes… / I’ll have 2 double cheesburgers with extra mayo” we hear many guys saying proudly, pointing to the fact that salad is for girls and wimps. But fact is that obesity and diet related disease are almost in parity between genders.
Would men be more apt to healthfully if the dietetic profession was dominated by XY chromosomes?
Although the number of men entering the dietetics field is slowly rising, the gender imbalance will continue for years. As one RD pointed out last night at a pre-conference dance, she’s looking forward to not just better shots of a dance-floor partner, but more respect and higher salaries in the field.
We’d love to hear what you think. Shoot away at the comments below.
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