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Brandeis University's Community Newspaper — Waltham, Mass.

Health center adds nutritionist position

Published: January 31, 2014
Section: News

Carolyn Butterworth, MSRDRN (Master of Science, Registered Dietitian and Registered Nurse), was recently added to Brandeis University’s Health Center staff.

She has worked in a college setting for the past 17 years and is also employed at Wellesley College and Massachusetts General Hospital in the gastrointestinal (GI) clinic.

“I like working with this [collegiate] age group,” she said, adding that she was drawn to Brandeis by the great opportunity that the position presented. “Nutrition affects every aspect of your life.”

With the addition of Butterworth, there are now two dietitians on campus. A dietician is a licensed medical professional with expertise in nutrition, while “nutritionist” is an unofficial term for a nutrition specialist and does not refer to a specific medical credential.

Kate Moran, RD, LDN (Registered Dietitian and Licensed Dietitian Nutritionist), coordinates between students and Dining Services and addresses issues of food allergies and healthy eating, while Butterworth works in the Health Center and is an expert on GI nutrition. She promotes overall wellness and advises students on medical concerns such as disease, sleeping habits, allergies, anemia, changes in eating patterns and meets with student athletes looking to improve their nutrition. The nutritionists work together on eating disorder prevention and education.

Butterworth also collaborates with Director of Athletics Sheryl Sousa to promote better health on campus.
According to Butterworth, there is one most important thing that a college student can do to be on top of his nutrition: “Planning is key.” The lives of college students are very busy, she explained, so getting off schedule is very common. The human body operates best on a consistent “clock,” and an irregular sleeping pattern, like a staple of late-night study sessions followed by weekend jetlag, disrupts students’ biological rhythms. Eating on the run, another hallmark of college life, exacerbates the problem.

Butterworth advises students to “look at college more like a job. Eat meals on a schedule, go to bed at the same hour, and think back to your high school schedule, which was much more regimented.” Good habits are essential to good health, and continuity is essential for maintaining it. Given the reality of classes, schoolwork, extracurriculars (paid and otherwise) and the challenges of maintaining a vibrant social life, going to sleep at the same time every night is not usually high on a Brandeis student’s list of priorities—but Butterworth said that should be. Sleep deprivation reduces concentration and decreases academic performance as a result, and a lack of sleep makes the immune system more vulnerable to illness. Planning your days to allow for a more regular sleep schedule is a step toward increasing your overall health. Like nutrition and exercise, sleep is one of the cornerstones of wellness.

She is willing to talk to students about a variety of things, being a nurse with a broad base of medical knowledge in addition to a registered dietitian.

If students or faculty have any questions for Butterworth, they can make an appointment at the Health Center by calling 781-736-3677. The Health Center is open Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.