What is a Dietitian?

Definition of a Dietitian

Dietitians apply the art and science of human nutrition to help people understand the relationship between food and health and make dietary choices to attain and maintain health, and to prevent and treat illness and disease. 

A more detailed list of the knowledge, skills and attributes of dietitians in Australia can be found in the National Competency Standards for Dietitians.


Distinction between Dietitian and Nutritionist

The key difference between a dietitian and a nutritionist is that, in addition to or as part of their qualification in human nutrition, a dietitian has undertaken a course of study that included substantial theory and supervised and assessed professional practice in clinical nutrition, medical nutrition therapy and food service management.

Therefore, in Australia, all dietitians are considered to be nutritionists however, nutritionists without a dietetics qualification cannot take on the specialised role of a dietitian.

There is no industry specific assessing authority that assesses the qualifications of nutritionists who are not dietitians.


What is an Accredited Practising Dietitian?

Accredited Practising Dietitians (APDs) have the qualifications and skills to provide expert nutrition and dietary advice. APDs are university-qualified professionals that undertake ongoing training and education programs to ensure that they are your most up-to-date and credible source of nutrition information, in line with DAA Professional Standards.

To ensure you consult the most qualified nutrition professional, ask if they hold the APD credential.

APD is the only national credential recognised by the Australian Government, Medicare, the Department of Veterans Affairs and most private health funds as the quality standard for nutrition and dietetics services in Australia. It is a recognised trademark protected by law. Medicare and most private health funds will provide rebates for visits to private APDs.

Medicare initiatives provide rebates on chronic health conditions under a care plan coordinated by a general practitioner. Medicare rebates are also payable for group services provided by eligible diabetes educators, exercise physiologist and APDs for people with type 2 diabetes, on referral from a GP. Contact Medicare for further information about rebates.Weight_loss_1.jpg


Who might see an Accredited Practising Dietitian?

APDs are trained to assess nutritional needs. They also assist people to manage health conditions and diseases using food as Medical Nutrition Therapy. APDs help treat a wide range of conditions including:

  • Diabetes
  • Heart disease
  • Cancers
  • Gastrointestinal diseases
  • Food allergies
  • Food intolerances
  • Disordered eating
  • Overweight and obesity

APDs can help with everyday healthy eating by translating scientific health and nutrition information into practical advice.


What to expect when seeing one of our Dietitians:

A typical session with one of our Accredited Practising Dietitians will involve a process of:

  1. Consultation:
    1. A discussion in which the Dietitian will assess your relevant medical history, medications, social history and dietary history. It provides an opportunity for your APD to get to know you on a more individual level and discuss your goals to improve your health.
  2. Assessment:
    1. Anthropometry – height, weight, Body Mass Index (BMI).
    2. Biochemistry – Recent blood results.
    3. Clinical – Dietary restrictions, allergies, intolerances or medical conditions affecting dietary intake.
    4. Diet – A food diary (or diet history) to compare current intake with your individual requirements.
  3. Recommendations:
    1. In the form of individualised recommendations to improve intake to meet nutritional requirements, prevent adverse symptoms or educate on healthier options to achieve your personal goals.
    2. Personalised meal plans can be provided as part of the weight management program or at an extra charge.
  4. Review:
    1. Our ongoing review process allows the Dietitian to reassess your goals and adherence to the plan. This is also an opportunity to determine the effectiveness of the recommendations and modify the plan to suit your needs. This is also an opportunity for you and your dietitian to address any barriers to achieving your goals and to develop a strategies to overcome them.
    2. AEP Health Group boasts a team of 5 fully accredited dietitians with vast knowledge and experience to help guide you with nutritional and health related goals. We have developed lasting relationships with over 900 referring General Practitioners and Specialists who have referred over 20,000 patients, trusting that they are receiving the best possible evidence-based health care available.


Meet our team of Dietitians