Individuals with either type 1 or type 2 diabetes know that maintaining a nutritious diet is one of the most important things they can do to control their disease. The findings of a new study suggest that the services of a registered dietitian may help individuals accomplish this goal.
A team of investigators from the American Dietetic Association reviewed evidence from previous research and summarized their findings in a report published in the Journal of the American Dietetic Association.
In their write-up, researchers laid out a set of exhaustive dietary guidelines for individuals affected by diabetes. Researchers said that the services of registered dietitians may be key in helping individuals follow the guidelines, which could help them significantly improve their condition.
“The evidence is strong that medical nutrition therapy provided by registered dietitians is an effective and essential therapy in the management of diabetes. Registered Dietitians are uniquely skilled in this process,” said Marion Franz, who led the investigation.
The guidelines developed by the research team lay out 29 nutritional points that can help diabetics improve their blood sugar control.
The authors used survey data from Project EAT (Eating Among Teens), in which two groups of adolescents (1608 middle school and 3074 high school students) completed surveys in 1999 and 2004 regarding eating habits, parental styles, and various socioeconomic variables.
Cross-sectional results for adolescent girls indicated a positive association between maternal and paternal authoritative parenting style and frequency of family meals. For adolescent boys, maternal authoritative parenting style was associated with more frequent family meals. Longitudinal results indicated that authoritative parenting style predicted higher frequency of family meals five years later, but only between mothers and sons or between fathers and daughters.
Would I enjoy a career as a dietitian?
If you are interested in food, nutrition and health, enjoy communicating with people and have an aptitude for science – an exciting future lies ahead of you when you become an Accredited Practising Dietitian (APD).
Dietitians need to have a critical and enquiring mind, good organisational skills and initiative, good written and verbal communication skills, and be able to work effectively with people.
What do dietitians do?
Dietitians apply the art and science of human nutrition to help people understand food and health relationships and make dietary choices to get the most out of their lifestyle.
Dietitians are trained to:
- understand food science;
- interpret nutrition science;assess people's nutritional needs;
- advise on nutrition and diet for general good health or for special needs such as sport or medical conditions;
- implement and manage nutrition services and programs;
- teach others;
- undertake research; and
- develop nutrition communications, nutrition programs and policies.
What are my career options?
The diverse range of job opportunities and working conditions for dietitians will enable you to develop a wide variety of interests and skills and use them in many different situations.
- Patient care Working as part of a health care team in hospitals and nursing homes, dietitians are responsible for assessing the nutritional needs of patients, planning appropriate diets and educating patients and their families.
- Community nutrition and public health Dietitians are involved in nutrition and health education programs. This can be at the local community level or for the population at a national level. Dietitians working in public health also assist with health planning, setting nutritional standards, and developing and implementing nutrition policies.
- Food service and management Dietitians combine management skills and nutrition expertise when delivering food services in hospitals, nursing homes, meals on wheels, hospitality and catering. Dietitians also manage nutrition services and health programs.
- Consultancy/private practice Dietitians provide consultancy services to individuals, groups and organisations which include individual counselling, group programs, preventive health programs and nutrition education. Dietitians also prepare nutritional information for publication, work with the media and in public relations.
- Food industry Dietitians working in the food industry are involved in food regulatory issues (food law), food safety and quality systems, consumer and health professional education, nutrition research, product development, nutrition-related marketing and public relations.
- Research and teaching Dietitians work as part of research teams investigating nutrition and health issues and developing practical nutrition recommendations. Dietitians are also involved in training student dietitians, doctors and other health professionals.
- Other fields Dietitians are able to transfer their skills to other fields such as management, public relations, marketing, program management, communications, media, health promotion, policy development and information technology.
What are the salaries – public sector and private practice fees?
In the public healthcare sector dietitians' salaries are similar to other allied health professionals, nurses and teachers. To find out about salaries you should visit the website of the relevant State/Territory Departments of Health or obtain the relevant awards (eg Health Professionals), collective agreements or enterprise agreements in your State or Territory.
In other work areas dietitians' salaries reflect salaries for that industry, e.g. university lecturers. It is against the Trade Practices Act for DAA to set or recommend fees therefore dietitians in private practice or consulting do set their own fees. DAA does survey members on what fees are being charged and the survey results are provided as a guide to what you may expect to pay if consulting a dietitian.
What course do I select?
To become a dietitian you need to complete a tertiary level course accredited by DAA. Currently there are courses in ACT, New South Wales, Queensland, South Australia, Victoria and Western Australia. Courses vary depending on the university. Some examples of current courses include: a one to two year post-graduate diploma or master degree following a bachelor of science degree (including physiology and biochemistry), or a four year integrated undergraduate course. Courses cover food, nutrition, health and diet-related medical conditions, and skills in communication, counselling, education, health promotion, management, research and critical analysis of literature.
How will my expertise be recognised?
Accredited Practising Dietitians (APD) are recognised professionals who have the qualifications and expertise to provide expert nutrition and dietary advice. APDs need to meet detailed criteria developed by DAA. These include ongoing education to keep up to date with advances in health and food sciences and a commitment to a Code of Professional Conduct. All APDs can be identified by the APD title and logo, and are listed on a national APD register.
Source: Dietitians Association of Australia
Diets that encourage and promise rapid weight loss often lead to weight being regained just as quickly. Australian women spend over $400 million per year in a fruitless quest to be slim, with 95% of people who go on weight loss diets regaining everything they have lost plus more within two years.
Not only are many popular diets ineffective, but they are also a health risk. Research into popular diet books has found that only one in four diets reviewed met current nutrition guidelines with many eliminating important, nutritious foods.
The Dietitians Association recommends weight loss diets that:
- Meet individual nutritional and health needs
- Fit with individual lifestylesInclude a wide variety of foods from all food groups
- Promote physical activity
- Focus on realistic life-long changes to eating and exercise habits.
The Dietitians Association does not recommend weight loss diets that:
- Cut out entire food groups or specific nutritious foods
- Promote and promise rapid weight loss without the supervision of a dietitian and doctor
- Focus on short-term changes to eating and exercise habits
- Recommend unusual foods or eating patterns
- Encourage miracle pills and potions.
There is no one magic or ‘ideal’ weight loss diet. It is possible to lose weight while meeting individual nutrition and lifestyle needs through a variety of approaches.
To lose weight and keep it off see an Accredited Practising Dietitian (APD) like Nastaran. Nastaran can help you get off the dieting merry go round by developing a lifestyle plan that’s right for you and can be followed for life.