What Do Dietitians Do?

“Dietitian” – what a strange word! What is a dietitian? What do they do? Why do dietitians exist? The big questions is: what can a dietitian do for YOU?

What is a dietitian?

Let’s cut through the chase. In simple terms, a dietitian is a person who had professional education and training to become experts in food, nutrition and diet. Dietitians use their knowledge in nutrition to help people improve their health, through tweaking their diet and lifestyle habits. A dietitian is an allied health professional, which is in the same category as psychologists, physiotherapists, podiatrists, and so on.

Dietitian vs Nutritionist – Whats the difference?

Some countries regulate the profession of nutritionists, and some don’t. The title of nutritionist can be used by a person who completed university education in nutrition, or an online course in nutrition. A nutritionist can work in the broad community setting, food industry, research, etc; however, a nutritionist may not neccesarily be qualified to provided one-on-one or group nutrition consultation in a medical setting.

In Australia, Dietitians are accredited by the national regulatory body Dietitians Australia, and are given the Accredited Practising Dietitian (APD) title if they meet strict criterias. Only APDs are recognised by Medicare, DVA and many other private insurers.

What do dietitians do

Dietitians work in many different settings, including hospitals, community health centres, clinics, schools, food industry, research facilities, sports league and more. To give you some perspective, a hospital dietitian can help hospital patients by prescribing them special diets, tube feeds, giving them nutrition education that will help manage their conditions; a food industry dietitian can help in developing and regulating food standards, and a sports dietitian can help atheletes improve their sports performance.

I am a private practice dietitian, this means that I work at my own clinic, and also with other health professionals in a mixed allied health clinic. I can see clients referred by general practitioners/specialists, as well as private patients who do not have a referral. Basically, I am happy to see anyone who needs a dietitian!

What do I (a private practice dietitian) do

I help my clients to understand more about food and nutrition, to understand their health conditions, and to gain the ability to make good food and lifestyle choices that can improve their health and prevent illnesses. I will not put anyone on a “diet” and leave them be – I believe in a sustainable healthy eating approach where healthy eating and lifestyle becomes a part of your life, and I will teach you how to do that.

  • Individual consultation

To get to know you as a new client, I would start with a 45-minute consultation where I learn more about your current health, diet and lifestyle habits. I then work together with you to set nutrition, excercise and lifestyle goals that can improve your health. I will help you to understand your nutrition intake by analysing your current meals, and give you a visual report on the highs and lows of your nutrient intake. I can also create a 100% personalised meal plan that could make healthy food decision-making much easier for you.

I believe in developing a great rapport with my clients. The more honest and open we are to each other, the better the result will be. To ensure that my clients can achieve the best health outcome, and to support my client through the process of change, I will always recommend a couple of follow-up sessions.

Group consultation & Workshop

I love providing nutrition consultation to families, it helps to bring family members closer together and motivate each other to make better food and lifestyle choices. I also host nutrition workshops in the form of presentation, talks and activities for community groups, aged care facilities, corporate groups, school groups, etc. Group nutrition & health workshop can help the participants to learn more about nutrition, making healthy choices suitable for their age & lifestyles, to stimulate ideas and conversations on health improvement, as well as facilitating interaction and bonding between participants. It certainly can be a fun, engaging, meaningful and useful activity for your organisation.

Interested in seeing a dietitian? You can book an appointment with me here.

Have more questions on what dietitians do? Leave a comment below!

Further Reading & References:





Published by EZ Dietitian

Elena Zhang​ is an Accredited Practising Dietitian (APD) based in North Brisbane, Queensland.

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