A coordinating committee representing 34 professional organizations, advocacy groups and federal agencies oversaw the development of the guidelines. The coordinating committee selected a 25-member expert panel, chaired by Joshua Boyce, M.D., co-director of the Inflammation and Allergic Disease Research Section at Boston's Brigham and Women's Hospital. The panel used an independent, systematic literature review of food allergy and their own expert clinical opinions to prepare draft guidelines. Public comments were invited and considered as well during the development of the guidelines.
“These guidelines are an important starting point toward a goal of a more cogent, evidence-based approach to the diagnosis and management of food allergy,” says Dr. Boyce. “We believe that they provide healthcare professionals with a clear-cut definition of what constitutes a food allergy and a logical framework for the appropriate use of diagnostic testing and accurate interpretation of the results.”
Additional topics covered by the guidelines include the prevalence of food allergy, natural history of food allergy and closely associated diseases, and management of acute allergic reactions to food, including anaphylaxis, a severe whole-body reaction. They also identify gaps about what is known about food allergy.
“The food allergy guidelines provide a rigorous assessment of the state of the science, and clearly identify the areas where evidence is lacking and where research needs to be pursued,” says Daniel Rotrosen, M.D., director of the Division of Allergy, Immunology and Transplantation at NIAID. “This information will help shape our research agenda for the near future.”
Food allergy has become a serious health concern in the United States. Recent studies estimate that food allergy affects nearly 5 percent of children younger than 5 years old and 4 percent of teens and adults. Its prevalence appears to be on the rise. Not only can food allergy be associated with immediate and sometimes life-threatening consequences, it also can affect an individual's health, nutrition, development and quality of life. While several potential treatments appear promising, currently no treatments for food allergy exist and avoidance of the food is the only way to prevent complications of the disease.
More information on the guidelines may be found at http://www.niaid.nih.gov/topics/foodAllergy/clinical/Pages/default.aspx
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.
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
The Partnership for Healthy Weight Management (including the American Dietetic Association) have released an easy-to-use booklet that provides information and checklists for evaluating weight loss programs and helps consumers to choose a safe and effective weight loss method.
To download this publication in PDF format, see below
While most private health funds provide rebates for visits to APDs, some patients may be eligible for a Medicare rebate instead.
The Medicare Allied Health Initiative allows chronically ill people being managed by their GP under the Enhanced Primary Care (EPC) Program access to Medicare rebates for ADP services. Eligible patients are those with a chronic condition, defined as one that is likely to be present for at least 6 months. This includes, but is not limited to, asthma, cancer, cardiovascular disease and diabetes. General practitioners must be managing the patient through the GP Management Plan (GPMP) and the need must be identified as part of a Team Care Arrangement (TCA). (Please note these are not the only criteria for Medicare eligibility for a GPMP, TCA and referral.) The dietitian must provide a service that is directly related to the management of the patient’s chronic condition. General practitioners must then fill out the EPC Program Referral Form for Allied Health Services under Medicare for the rebate to be possible. The Medicare rebate is currently $48.95 per service with out-of-pocket expenses counting toward the extended Medicare safety net. Patients are given a maximum of five allied health visits per calendar year.
Medicare rebates are now also payable for group services for patients with type 2 diabetes, on referral from a GP. Contact Medicare for further information about eligibility, requirements, rebates and referral forms.