Dietitians are the only qualified health professionals that assess, diagnose and treat dietary and nutritional problems at an individual and wider public-health level. They work with both healthy and sick people. Uniquely, dietitians use the most up-to-date public health and scientific research on food, health and disease which they translate into practical guidance to enable people to make appropriate lifestyle and food choices.
Dietitians help to educate, guide and inform the public about healthy eating and lifestyle messages, while underpinning and cementing the role of the Dietitian in aiding everyone to achieve better health and wellbeing
Dietitians are the only nutrition professionals to be regulated by law, and are governed by an ethical code to ensure that they always work to the highest standard. Dietitians work in the NHS, private practice, industry, education, research, sport, media, public relations, publishing, government and Non-Government Organisations (NGOs). Dietitians advise and influence food and health policy across the spectrum from government, to local communities and individuals.
Reasons to see a dietitian
Finding and accessing the services of a dietitian can be achieved in several ways, but why choose a dietitian in the first place? There are many reasons why people choose to visit a dietitian such as a specific medical/health need or condition. Here are just a few examples where dietitians, working on a one-to-one basis or part of a wider health team, can help improve your health and lifestyle if:
you suffer with digestive problems
you have been diagnosed with a medical condition, such as diabetes, high blood pressure, cardiovascular disease, coeliac, etc
you have or suspect you have an eating disorder
you are wanting or needing to lose weight in a safe and sensible way
you need to put weight on following a spell of ill-health or as the result of a medical condition
you want to improve your athletic performance or general fitness levels
you want to maximise your chances to become pregnant
you think you have an allergy or intolerance to a certain food.
Is the title ‘dietitian’ protected by law?
YES. Only those registered with the statutory regulator, the Health & Care Professions Council (HCPC) can use the title of ‘dietitian’.
What qualifications do dietitians have?
The minimum requirement is a BSc Hons in Dietetics, or a related science degree with a postgraduate diploma or higher degree in Dietetics.
Dietetic courses are structured to include biochemistry, physiology, applied sciences and research methods which underpin nutrition and dietetics. These are complemented by social and behavioural sciences and the theories of communication to support the development of skills required for professional dietetic.
Courses must be approved by the HCPC and demonstrate that graduates meet the Standards of Proficiency for Dietetics.