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The Role Of Public Dieticians And Public Health

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This report aims to describe the role and responsibility of public health dieticians/nutritionists and how they contribute to a more integrated health system. A current health problem for public dieticians/nutritionists in New Zealand (NZ) is an increase in obesity and this report will also discuss this further.
Public dieticians and public nutritionists share many of the same roles within a community with both focusing on the health and well being of a population. They work to make people aware of healthy food choices and lifestyles by sending clear and constant messages into the community (Ministry of Health, 2007). In order for this to happen public dieticians/nutritionists work to reduce nutritional misinformation published by the media. They also advise other health professionals such as General Practitioners to ensure they are sending the correct nutritional messages to their patients (Ministry of Health, 2007). Public dieticians/nutritionists treat and educate individuals and small groups to prevent health problems at a personal level. However their main focus is that of populations and so they plan community-based campaigns to target larger groups of people and work to change health and nutrition policies to prevent large onsets of dis-ease. Winterfeldt, Bogle & Ebro, 2013). They do this by working in schools to educate the youth and by holding conferences and educational talks for adults in the wider community (Ministry of Health, 2007).
Glouberman & Mintzberg (2007) discusses the traditional roles within the health sector by separating them into four quadrants – care, control, community and cure. Although they work collectively for the wellbeing of patients, the roles discussed in the report also have individual focuse...

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...ease in integration and the quality of care patients received. This solidifies the fact that when public health dieticians/nutritionists utilize other health professional’s expertise, they are doing it for the well being of the patient and the greatest quality of care is being achieved. This comprehensive and integrative approach provides efficient care that meets the need of the patient and in turn improves health outcomes. In many cases, increasing efficiency within the health sector also helps control costs (Ministry of Health, 2011).
Public health dieticians/nutritionists utilize prevention, promotion and management strategies to encourage communities to make healthy food and lifestyle choices. It is this broad role of public dieticians/nutritionists that allow them to take an integrated approach to their work and to contribute to an integrated health system.
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