Dietitians Do Prevention is this year’s theme for Dietitian’s Week and it really highlights the role that dietitians play in the prevention and management of nutrition-related diseases. Prevention and optimum management of disease reduces the pressure on the public healthcare system, medical aid societies and the work force in general.
Dietitians thrive on prevention and finding practical ways for individuals to optimize their nutrition intake. Dietitians work in all aspects of health from food service and primary health care to clinical care in hospitals and private practice.
Food and nutrition play a significant role in disease and the prevention of disease. Dietitians are trained at a scientific level in nutrition for the prevention and management of disease, making dietitians an essential part of any healthcare facility, food and beverage company and nutrition related media publishers.
6 ways in which dietitians do prevention:
1. Guidance during the first 1000 days
Support healthy pregnancies, promote breastfeeding and appropriate feeding for healthy growth from conception to 2 years of age.
2. Public Health and Primary Prevention
Promotion of good food and beverage choices to help the public stay healthy and prevent nutrition related diseases such as diabetes, heart diseases, stroke, iron deficiency, bowel diseases and accelerated muscle loss with aging.
3. Optimising Health and Secondary Prevention
Dietitians support and guide patients with long term illnesses such as diabetes to maintain optimum health, prevent long term complications and promote quality of life.
4. Rehabilitation and Recovery
Dietitians provide nutrition support during admission and post discharge for those who have been ill or are bed ridden for recovery. Optimum nutrition promotes recovery, prevents infections and reduces the need for readmission to hospital.
5. Mental Health and Addiction Recovery
Good nutrition and a healthy diet play a role in the prevention and management of mental ill health.
6. Making Every Contact Count through Healthy Conversations
A dietitians role is not limited to diet alone. Dietitians discuss all aspects of health with their clients, such as physical exercise, stress, smoking and family dynamics.
The age old saying, “prevention is better than cure” is not one we should dismiss as outdated or irrelevant but rather one that we should adopt as evidenced based truth. Prevention of nutrition-related disease is possible!