Social Media and Nutrition

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As a professional registered dietitian and nutritionist, I engage in social media for various reasons. Networking with other professionals in my field is key in staying abreast on current trends and also reinforcing solid truths. Social media has allowed me to be in contact with my peers by providing a forum to share our thoughts and experiences, ask each other questions, and introduce new topics of interest or concern. Through these interactions, I have a “bird’s-eye view” of global nutrition and healthcare without ever having to leave my office. In essence, social media is another arm of my practice where I learn valuable lessons from the success or trials of my peers along with today’s current health concerns.

As a small business owner, I also use social media to connect with the general population; a marketing tool where people can learn about my services and be informed on the latest nutrition topics. Hot debates on nutrition and health are a great way to interact with clients, friends, and even strangers without need for formal discussion or personal therapy sessions. Providing current or prospective clients with a place to express their thoughts, fears, and progress has been a powerful therapy tool in itself where all of a sudden, we are not alone, after all.

A support network helps to build myself and my practice. In current times, progress is based on connectivity and social media is connection without walls.

Photo credit: Jun Belen

About The Author

Manuel Villacorta is a registered dietitian (RD) and certified specialist is sports dietetics (CSSD) with more than 16 years of experience. He was recently appointed national media spokesperson for the American Dietetic Association, which identifies him as one of the United States’ leading weight loss and nutrition experts. Villacorta is the owner of San Francisco-based private practice MV Nutrition, the recipient of two consecutive “Best Bay Area Dietitian” awards (2009 and 2010) from the San Francisco Chronicle and Citysearch, and the creator of the Eating Free™ weight management program. Villacorta also developed MV Professional Nutrition (a software suite designed to assist RDs with their own private practices) and created www.eatingfree.com (an international, Internet-based weight loss and weight management program). Villacorta is a compelling, charismatic communicator—a public speaker, who is often praised for making audiences feel, heard, motivated, and engaged. His warm, approachable style, alongside his strong bilingual proficiency in both English and Spanish, have made him an in-demand health and nutrition expert on both local and national television and radio, and in articles in print publications and online. Villacorta worked closely with Dr. Nancy L. Snyderman, chief medical editor of NBC News, to provide expert nutrition advice on a number of topics for the BeWell network. He is often invited to speak at annual state and national conventions such as The Oregon Dietetic Association (where he was the keynote speaker), and The American Dietetic Association (where he spoke to other dietitian professionals about his successful private practice). Villacorta has acted as a media representative for food companies such as Foster Farms (one of the largest chicken producers on the West Coast) as well as for such California statewide health campaigns as the “California Latino 5-A-Day Program” and “Got Milk.” Prior to setting up his private practice, Villacorta worked as a public health dietitian for California Children Services and the Prenatal to Three Initiative, where he offered prenatal, infant, and childhood nutrition consulting. He has worked as a clinical dietitian for Kaiser Permanente in San Francisco and has held a faculty position with the School of Nursing at the University of San Francisco. Villacorta received his bachelor of science in nutrition and physiology metabolism from the University of California, Berkeley, and his master of science in nutrition and food science from San Jose State University. He has been the recipient of numerous prestigious awards for his research, including the Outstanding Master of Science Degree Award from San Jose State University’s Department of Nutrition and Food Science.

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