Objective: The Dietitians Association of Australia (DAA) is endeavouring to support best practice for dietetic management of overweight and obesity in Australia. The aims of this member survey were to describe current dietetic services and intervention strategies in obesity management and to compare current practice with that reported previously. Method: All members of DAA were sent a questionnaire, with 287 surveys returned (response rate 14%). The questionnaire was informed by a literature review of evidence-based practice and was pre-tested. Self-reported dietetic management strategies were evaluated against best practices guidelines. Results: The majority of dietetic treatment consultations were individual (45%). Both dietitian (6%) and multidisciplinary (11%) group programs were offered, with 15% care-planning within general practice. Only 13% of respondents reported the adoption of clinical guidelines for obesity management. Factors that supported or prevented dietetic involvement in obesity management were reported consistently as time, funding, staffing, management support and resources. Gaps in skills and areas identified for continuing professional development included counselling for behaviour change and strategies for implementation of best practice guidelines in a variety of settings. Future research questions included evaluation of models of dietetic care to ensure long-term lifestyle changes and improve clinical outcomes. Conclusion: This survey indicates that there is a need for the development and dissemination of best practice guidelines for the management of overweight and obesity in Australian adults and children. DAA is well placed to facilitate uptake of current evidence-based treatment recommendations through the ratification and implementation of clinical guidelines that support best practice.
Nutrition and Dietetics Vol. 60, Issue 3, p. 177-184