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Public Knowledge about the Role of Clinical Dieticians

Journal of Research in Medical and Dental Science
eISSN No. 2347-2367 pISSN No. 2347-2545

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Research - (2022) Volume 10, Issue 6

Public Knowledge about the Role of Clinical Dieticians

Nasser Alqahtani*

*Correspondence: Nasser Alqahtani, Department of Clinical Nutrition, Faculty of Applied Medical Sciences, Northern Border University, Arar, Saudi Arabia, Email:

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Abstract

The role of dieticians has dramatically increased over the years. People have opted to eat healthy foods to prevent certain diseases instead of getting sick and going for treatment. Dieticians have been crucial in this idea because they advise patients on what type of food to eat and not what to eat. Moreover, in the hospital setting, dieticians help patients in diet modification, give advice on nutritional labels and diet plans, provide dietary services and educational programs to patients, and so forth. However, the question is, are people familiar with the role of dieticians, or do they have limited knowledge. This paper aims to identify if people and the community know about the role of dietitians. The method involved answering a questionnaire by 530 randomly selected male and female adults. The findings revealed that more than half of the participants knew about dieticians and their contribution to preventing and controlling lifestyle diseases such as diabetes, hypertension, and gastrointestinal infections. Moreover, the findings were supported by evidence from peer-reviewed or scholarly sources talking about the role of dieticians in promoting health. In the case of an existing illness such as diabetes, dieticians advise the patients on the best dietary plan, which helps control the condition. Dieticians play an essential role in preventing and managing lifestyle diseases.

Keywords

Dieticians, Nutrition, Community, Diseases

Introduction

A dietician is an individual with legally recognized qualifications in nutrition and dietetics who applies the science of nutrition to educate people about the right food to eat to remain healthy. They apply the concept of human nutrition in helping people comprehend the relationship between health and food and choose dietary preferences to achieve and maintain the healthiness and prevent certain diseases. Dieticians are primarily responsible for advising people on what to eat to stay healthy: they are professionals in food and nutrition; thus, they give nutritional advice to achieve a specific healthrelated goal. Dieticians are well-trained professionals with significant skills in human nutrition and dietary [1]. A Majority have college graduates in the dietary courses; they also constantly research to be updated on new dietary patterns. Business dietitians provide expert knowledge or opinion about food or a particular diet on radio shows or television. They also write corporate publications and books about nutrition, food, wellness, and health. Community dietitians work in public health facilities and formulate nutrition programs to benefit the residents. However, the overall goal of the programs is to create awareness about proper eating habits and nutrition among the targeted groups. Clinical dietitians are found in health care organizations such as hospitals, clinics, and nursing facilities [1]. They provide medical nutrition therapy to patients. Consultant dietitians only provide their services on contractual services with health organizations. Foodservice dietitians work in school canteens, prisons, company cafes, restaurants, and companies involved in large-scale meal planning and feeding. They formulate new menus and initiate health programs. Gerontological dietitians are specialized in the dietary needs and nutrition of the elderly. Their main responsibility is to create and develop healthy menus for older people and educate caregivers about healthy eating lifestyles. The research aims at finding out if people and the community understand the role of dieticians. When people know the role of any professionals, it becomes much easier to use their expertise when the need arises.

Literature Review

Dieticians play vital roles in the community to help in promoting healthier lifestyles to people. According to Barrea et al. 2021, the competence of various dieticians is based on their skillful way of communicating theoretical information about nutrition to various people [2]. In the public health sector, a recognized role of dieticians includes creating menus for patients based on the food available in the hospital setting. Dieticians play a significant role in preventing and controlling specific diseases. Over time, their roles have evolved to provide food education, nutrition appraisal, and proper food storage [3]. The more the science of food and nutrition broadened, the more the role of dieticians expanded. Over time, dieticians have begun working with health practitioners in teaching the significance of nutrition.

According to Frohock et al. the role of dietitians has significantly increased over time, and many people have known the importance of seeking dietic advice to stay healthy [4]. Dieticians have been recognized to play a vital role in helping prevent people from contracting certain diseases by offering guidance on the appropriate food to eat. They have helped the community remain healthy and prevent certain premature deaths in society [5]. There has been a growing realization of the importance of nutritional advice, and the health sector has incorporated dieticians to work in hospitals. Dieticians come with many benefits. First, they have specialized education and training for food and nutrition that a typical individual lacks, which helps them develop a dietary plan that ensures a patient meets adequate nutritional needs and requirements. In addition, people with health problems such as health diseases can be assessed and provided with a food plan to help alleviate the health problems. According to Mann 2022, a dietitian in the community provides crucial information to ordinary people on the importance of eating the right food to stay healthy and prevent disease [5]. Some of the lifestyle diseases that affect the dietary pattern of a person mainly cause some people. Therefore, community dieticians have been of significant help instructing people about eating a balanced diet and consuming certain nutrients. In spreading their nutritional education, community dietitians use various ways, such as books, welldesigned posters, and various published health journals and articles. Moreover, in some situations, dietitians who work in the public health sector monitor restaurants to evaluate their hygiene, menu, and ingredients. They can assess the food server's healthiness and offer guidance on the right menu to include.

Objectives

✓ To identify the knowledge that people and the community have regarding the role of dieticians.

✓ To identify how dieticians play a specific role in preventing and controlling lifestyle diseases.

A quantitative research method was used, and data were collected using questionnaires from several participants who were willing to participate in the study. Participants were selected randomly; it involved 530 male and female adults. They were then given questioners containing questions about the role of dieticians in preventing, controlling, and treating disease. The questionnaire was structured in a manner in which participants gave a Yes and No answer.

Results

Out of the 530 questionnaires, only 410 had complete answers. The table below shows the results obtained from various responses by the research participants (Table 1).

Question Yes No
Have you heard of a dietitian 302 108
Dietitians play an important role to prevent diseases 320 90
Dietitians play an important role to control diabetes 390 20
Dietitians play an important role to control hypertension 350 60
Dietitians play an important role to control kidney disease 310 100
Dietitians play an important role in ICU 150 260
Dietitians play an important role by following up with patients after discharges 201 209
Dietitians play an important role to control gastrointestinal disease 240 170
Dietitians play an important role to identify nutrition problem 193 217
Dietitians play an important role to assess nutrition status 205 205
Dietitians work on enteral and parenteral feeding 102 308

Table 1: Questions.

Discussion

From the response, it was clear that a high majority reported having heard about dietitians; 302 of the participants responded Yes, while 108 responded. The idea of dietitians has become more popular in the present age because people are opting for other ways to treat chronic diseases. In addition, the high number of participants' knowledge about the role of dietitians can be attributed to the digital era where getting information is accessible.

On the question of the role of dieticians in preventing diseases, 320 participants responded Yes that the dieticians have a role in preventing diseases, while 90 reported No that dieticians do not have a role in preventing diseases. Most chronic illnesses are preventable since they are linked to poor lifestyles and

diet. Dieticians spread awareness regarding healthy eating habits at an individual and community level. They work hard to educate the public on good nutrition to create and maintain their health, which helps prevent diseases and hinder diet-related conditions such as obesity and malnutrition. At a community level, dietitians promote prevention by promoting household security and elimination of hunger. According to Frohock et al. [5], many community projects in the U.S comprise dietitian services. Such projects include engaging the community on the issues related to good health, such as exercising. Dieticians are also found in hospitals and play a vital role in preventing survival and recovery and preventing more admissions in health care facilities by providing healthy eating habits [5]. They screen hospitalized patients to identify those at risk of developing certain diseases and subsequently offer nutrition interventions to impede the risks.

From the results, 390 participants indicated that dieticians have a role in controlling diabetes, while 20 responded that they do not have a role. Diabetes mellitus is a disease in which the blood glucose level in the body cannot be maintained at healthy levels by the body. There are two types of diabetes: type 1 and type 2. Dieticians provide detailed nutrition education from diagnosis and throughout routine follow-up care. They also assess the patient's food choices, meals patterns, and eating behaviors. Diabetes dieticians help patients manage their diabetes. For instance, how to improve their blood glucose level and attain a healthy diet and lifestyle. They also help the patient know how diabetes affects their diets, such as eliminating the consumption of carbohydrates and sugar and only consuming foods high in fat and protein. Typically, dieticians create a diet plan for diabetes patients and adjust or prescribe diabetes medication tailored to their individual needs.

The response also depicted that dietitians have a role in controlling hypertension, and 350 of them gave a Yes response while 60 gave a No answer. High blood pressure happens when the force or pressure of blood pumped through the blood veins is too high. High blood pressure can damage artery walls, heart failure, and vision loss if ignored. The dietitians typically assist the patients with meal planning to manage their condition, explain the basics of hypertension, provide recipe modifications and provide emotional support.

In addition, dietitians also control kidney disease; this was based on the 310 individuals who gave a Yes response. Kidney diseases can either be chronic or acute. The former is primarily a result of hypertension and uncontrolled diabetes, while the latter is a result of complications arising from injury or severe infections. In both cases, permanent loss of the kidney can happen. People suffering from kidney disease cannot properly regulate their bodies' potassium, protein and sodium levels and filter their blood levels [6]. Dietitians provide medical nutrition therapy to help control kidney diseases and maintain optimal nutrient intake.

In the Intensive Care Unit, the Dietitians is tasked with developing, implementing, and monitoring nutritional strategies and interventions to satisfy the unique need of critically ill patients. From the study, 260 individuals responded that dietitians do not offer nutritional support in the ICU, while 150 responded yes. Patients in the ICU mostly need organ support which complicates their dietary requirements [7]. Their deterioration of nutrition status is associated chiefly with staying in the hospital and ICU for so long, increased risk for infections, and poor functional outcomes.

On the question about whether dietitians follow up patients after discharge, 209 of the respondents were No, while 201 of the study participants accepted that dietitians play a role after discharge of a patient. Dietitians check on some of their patients to see if they are following their nutrition plan or not. Some healthcare facilities in the U.S perform a telephone follow-up on their patients [6]. However, most follow-up involves patients suffering from chronic diseases such as kidney diseases. The follow-up is not that strict for those on nutritional plans as a preventive measure.

In addition, on the question of whether people knew that dietitians play a role in controlling gastrointestinal diseases, 240 people responded Yes while 170 said No. Gastrointestinal disease is a digestive or food-induced disorder characterized by pain in the abdominal, bloating, constipation, irritable bowel syndrome, and hemorrhoid and Anal fistula. These conditions usually affect the liver, pancreas, stomach, and colon, hindering the absorption of food which causes painful symptoms [7]. Gastroenterology dietitians help the patients analyze their conditions and prescribe the right diet. A study done in 2018 revealed that 90% of 1562 gastroenterologists claimed that implementing a diet plan was more effective than medications for IG [6]. The GI dietitians create a tailored, feasible, adequate nutrition plan that integrates the patient's clinical data, socio-economics lifestyle, and nutritional intake. For instance, patients with a history of GI are screened for over-eating, such as bulimia and anorexia nervosa, which is then considered when making the plan.

On whether the people knew that dietitians have a role in identifying a nutritional problem, 217 participants gave a No response while 193 responded Yes. Nutritional assessment entails collecting data about a patient's medical history, biochemical and clinical records, food security situation, dietary practices, and current treatment to ascertain whether a person or a group is nourished or malnourished. (Under-nourished or over-nourished). The assessment can be done using the ABCD methods: anthropometry, biochemical/ biophysical, clinical, and dietary methods [8]. For instance, anthropometry involves measuring the body's weight, proportions, and size. Standard anthropometric measurements are head circumference, height, and skinfold. Skilled facility-based health care providers and dietitians can perform nutrition screening in hospital settings, home-based care, and group meetings.

In the eternal and parental feeding, 308 participants responded No that dietitians do not have a role in this, while 112 responded Yes. Parenteral and enteral dietitians help patients who cannot get the nutrition they require through eating or feeding formula, including fats, electrolytes, minerals, and proteins. Dieticians assess the clients, their families, or close ones to determine what they currently eat [8]. Anyone can receive parental nutrition, either a child or an adult. Individuals can continue to receive parental nutrition until they are fed by a tube or eat enough food on their own. The formula bypasses the gastrointestinal tract process and goes directly into the bloodstream in parental feeding. According to Hickson & Collison, many health care facilities in the U.S administered parental and enteral feeding, with 43 % being newborns and children [8]. On the other hand, enteral feeding is food intake via the gastrointestinal tracts, including the mouth, oesophagus, stomach, and intestines. Enteral feeding is usually administered to people with a condition or injury that hinders eating by mouth, but their gastrointestinal is still functioning. Parental and enteral feeding can be administered at home or in health facilities.

Conclusion

In conclusion, nutrition support is a concept that crosses all ages and diseases as medical providers aim to meet the nutrition requirement of people who are incapable of meeting their nutrition needs with or without food intake. The role of dietitians in preventing chronic diseases such as kidney diseases, diabetes, following up patients, and administering parental and enteral feeding in reducing diet-related conditions are coherent and clear. Therefore, dietitians play a role in providing optimal management of under-nutrition among all ages in the current world. In addition, nutrition is a vital element of good health; thus, the idea of assessing people's nutrition status as a way of measuring their health status seems ideal. The simple act of providing medical nutrition therapy to patients by assessing their nutritional requirements developing and implementing nutrition programs can go a long way in eradicating eating habits related to diseases. More so, the ability to control existing conditions such as diabetes among patients by providing for them a nutritional plan has reduced the money that would have been spent on buying drugs. According to the results, it is somewhat encouraging because at least more than half of the participants knew about the role of dietitians. Lastly, promptly developing an ideal nutritional plan will help tackle diet-related diseases and reduce death cases.

Acknowledgement

This project was supported by Research Deanship, Northern Border University. Researchers would like to thank Dietitian Amer Alanazi for his assistance in this research.

Conflict of Interests

The author has no conflicts of interest to declare.

Funding Source

This research was funded by Deanship of Research, Northern Border University, Arar.

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Author Info

Nasser Alqahtani*

1Department of Clinical Nutrition, Faculty of Applied Medical Sciences, Northern Border University, Arar, Saudi Arabia
 

Citation: Thamer Mohammed Bakhamis, Abdullah Muidh Alqethami, Nesrin Kamal Abd El-Fatah, Public Knowledge about the Role of Clinical Dieticians, J Res Med Dent Sci, 2022, 10 (6):46-49.

Received: 27-May-2022, Manuscript No. JRMDS-22-65189; , Pre QC No. JRMDS-22-65189 (PQ); Editor assigned: 30-May-2022, Pre QC No. JRMDS-22-65189 (PQ); Reviewed: 13-Jun-2022, QC No. JRMDS-22-65189; Revised: 17-Jun-2022, Manuscript No. JRMDS-22-65189 (R); Published: 24-Jun-2022

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