- Angelique Smith
Dietitian's Week - What is a dietitian?
From 20 - 24 June it’s Dietitian’s Week, so why not start the week off by explaining what a dietitian is.
Dietitian’s are qualified health professionals that are regulated by their professional health board. In South Africa, we are regulated by the HPCSA and our degree is a 4-year honours degree. In South Africa we are required to do a year of community service after our 4 year honours degree where we work in public hospitals and clinics.
We assess, diagnose and treat dietary and nutritional problems not only at an individual level but also at a public-health level. We use the latest scientific, evidence based and up-to-date research on food, health and diseases which we use to help educate and advise our patients to enable them to make the appropriate health, food and lifestyle choices.
Dietitian’s also play an important role and form part of a multi-disciplinary team to treat complex health conditions. A multi-disciplinary team provides patients with the best care to get the best possible health outcome.
There are many different settings that we can work in and we can work with healthy and sick people.
Below are just a few settings where you will find us:
- Hospitals and clinics (private and public)
- The community
- Private practice
- Retirement homes
- Food Industry
- The media
- Workplaces etc.
Remember, dietitian’s and nutritionist’s are not the same. Nutritionist’s are able to provide information about food and healthy eating but dietitian’s are the *only* qualified health professionals that assess, diagnose and treat dietary and nutritional problems. (Dietitian’s are the only regulated health professionals that are related to food and nutrition.)
I hope this helps you understand what a dietitian is. Look out for my future post on what we do and what conditions we help prevent and treat. ✨