Sexual Health

June 2009


Can a dietician help?

Volume 38, No.6, June 2009 Pages 405-407

Claire Hewat

This is the first article in a series looking at the relationship between diet and good health, and the role of the dietician in the primary health care team.

Case study

A Greek man, 52 years of age, presents as he has been feeling unwell. You discover he has impaired glucose tolerance, high blood pressure and is overweight. He recently separated from his wife and is struggling with preparing meals. You prepare a GPMP with one element of management involving a change in his dietary habits.

You provide him with basic dietary advice based on the Australian Guide to Healthy Eating to get him started. However, he states he needs more help knowing what to eat to lose weight and is unsure about preparing meals and knowing what to buy at the supermarket. You suggest specialist dietary advice and refer him to a dietician. He has private health insurance extras cover and can use this to subsidise the cost.

The dietician assesses the patient’s needs and where his diet could improve. The dietician also takes anthropometric measurements and discusses the patient's individual dietary goals. Individualised, practical information and advice is provided on glycaemic index, preparing simple healthy meals, reading food labels, and choosing the right foods when eating out. The advice provided is culturally sensitive and reflects his current home situation. This helps improve his weight, which in turn, impacts on his blood pressure and impaired glucose tolerance. The GP receives regular feedback on the patient’s progress.

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