Unsung Heroes

Stressing on the importance of dieticians,the Indian Dietetic Association is organising a national conference in the city.

Written by EXPRESS FEATURES SERVICE | Published: December 11, 2013 3:36 am

With rapid changes in lifestyle and rise in ailments related to food habits,more and more people in the city are now getting in touch with dieticians. Yet,a dietician is often viewed as a diet clerk in hospitals. At a national conference that gets underway from December 12 at MIT College,Kothrud,nutritionists,dieticians and specialists will come together to raise several such issues. The conference will stress on the need for recognition and upgradation of the dietician’s role,who is an educator,corporate-wellness advisor,lifestyle expert,nutrigenomics expert and researcher.

Dr Geeta Dharmatti,President,Indian Dietetic Association (IDA),said January 11 will now be observed nationally as a day for dieticians.

IDA,which has nutritionists,dieticians and other specialist working in the area of food and nutrition,will hold its annual congress on new paradigms in the field of nutrition research and science. The conference will be inaugurated by Dr RA Mashelkar,former director of Council of Scientific Industrial Research,while Dr Venkatesh Mannar,President,Micro-nutrient Initiative,Canada,will be the chief guest.

One of the key issues is micro-nutrient deficiency. “There is an urgent need to understand the importance of the micro-nutrients in your diet,” said Dharmatti. Other topics covered will include the need for nutrition application in managing obesity,metabolic surgery,what is functional food and how oats,rice bran oil,eggs and suitable edible oils benefit. Dharmatti said that dieticians can best educate people about an integrated lifestyle approach. “There is,however,a need for ethical practice among dieticians too. Nutritionists should practise evidence-based science. They should not recommend fad diets. For all this,there is a need for documentation and research activities. Every dietician should have good data and present statistics specific to the Indian scenario,” she said.

The conference will also deliberate on creating awareness for a registered dietician. “To provide uniformity and evidence-based practice,IDA has prepared an exam for a registered dietician. The eligibility criteria is post graduation in nutrition and six months of internship at a multi-speciality hospital involving kitchen and OPD practice,” said Dharmatti. She added that they also need a regulatory body at the national level for uniform,ethical and proper education practice throughout the country.

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