Licensed dietitians on Saturday called on the public not to put their health in the hands of people who are not qualified to offer nutrition advice.
They also urged doctors, personal trainers, fitness instructors and physical therapists to refer patients and clients who need dietary assessment only to qualified nutritionists, registered dietitians and clinical dietitians.
“Unfortunately, it has been repeatedly observed that dietetics is practised by people who are not professionally trained to prescribe diets such as some gymnasts, beauticians, ‘nutrition counsellors’ and others,” the dietetic and nutrition association (Sydiky) said.
The only ones who can offer sound dietary and nutritional advice are people with university studies in this field and registered dieticians and clinical dietitians, the group said.
It added that nutritionists and registered dietitians and/or clinical dietitians hold a bachelor’s degree in science and the application of the science of nutrition and dietetics from a recognised university, while those with a master’s degree have an additional 18 to 24 months of studies with or without internship, depending on the degree and the country of study.
“Anyone who holds a degree, other than the above or has a diploma or has followed a course for a few days or has had a short-term training in a diet programme, is not considered competent to bear the title of dietitian/nutritionist, nor to prescribe diets and endanger public health,” the association said.
They said that people must put their health only in the hands of experts registered with the Cyprus registration council for scientists/food technologists and dieticians and members of Sydiki, whether this concerns weight gain or loss, diabetes management, gastrointestinal diseases or simple nutrition advice for prevention and treatment.
The association’s members may be found here.