Three generations of dietitians

Friday, March 16, 2012 - 11:23am

By Anastasia Knyazeva

It’s common to see several members of one family choose to be teachers or lawyers. What makes three generations from one family choose dietetics? Lynn Campbell, a Capital Health dietitian, her grandmother (Marion Eileen McMahon), and her daughter (Sarah Campbell) all graduated with nutrition degrees and became registered dietitians.

Lynn didn’t choose to follow her grandmother into the profession. “It wasn’t until Sarah graduated that I found out my grandmother also had a degree in dietetics,” says Lynn. Moreover, Lynn had studied biology, before she discovered her interest in nutrition.
Sarah hasn’t been pressured to be a dietitian either. She discovered her love of nutrition when majoring in psychology and taking electives in nutrition.

“At that time I was not interested in being a dietitian at all,” says Sarah. “Within three weeks of starting university I was hooked on nutrition, so I switched my major. “

Not one of them had a lifelong ambition to be a dietitian. What they had is a love of food and an exposure to all kinds of food. 
“I loved spending weekends at my grandparents’ home and eating brown bread fresh from the oven with lots of molasses!” says Lynn. As a kid, she was constantly surrounded by food. She often observed her parents working with food in a frozen food store that they owned. “Maybe that was the start.”

Clearly this interest and love of food was transmitted from one generation to the next. “It was an early introduction to the joy of food by my parents,” says Sarah. “I have very happy memories of baking and cooking with them.”

Sarah also has many memories of going to work with her mother on ‘Take Your Child to Work Day’. As she was too young to be able to observe most of what her mother did with patients, she spent a lot of time with the cafeteria workers. 

Marion, Lynn and Sarah graduated with a degree in nutrition at different times (1925, 1977 and 2007 respectively). Despite the fact that the three have learned and practiced in different times, they have been able to spread their love of dietetics, appreciation and respect for the profession, and (above all) the joy of food.