Why dietitians may have to change their names
Registered dietitic training is becoming a key part of Australian medicine.
The profession has a long history of teaching people how to care for the body and to reduce risk of disease.
But the name and appearance of some of the profession’s most experienced and respected doctors have led to some calling for a change.
“I think the names are a bit problematic,” Associate Professor of Nutrition and Dietetics Dr Andrew Leakey told RN Breakfast.
“[There is] a real need to change them.
If I were an accredited dietitist, I would be looking for a name that is appropriate, that is not derogatory, and that is something that would be taken into account.”
Dr Leakeyds study found the name change in Australia was associated with increased rates of obesity, type 2 diabetes and the risk of certain cancers.
The first name of a Registered Dietitian was changed in 1983.
In 2011, the ABC revealed that the profession had lost a third of its registered doctors in just a decade.
Dr Matthew Deane from the Australian Dietetic Association said the profession needed to “get its act together”.
“There is a lot of good work going on with Registered Dietetics but we’re not doing it well,” he said.
He said a more “positive name” would have “positive health effects for the community”.
“If you’re an experienced dietitarian, you know how to treat patients, and your training and your expertise is not necessarily transferable to a new role,” he told RN.