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A survey to assess physical activity promotion by Registered Dietitians

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Abstract Background 

Convincing evidence has emerged in recent years for the role of physical activity (PA) in the prevention and treatment of many chronic diseases. These include both physical and mental health problems, which are likely to be encountered by practicing dietitians. This study aimed to identify whether NHS based Registered Dietitians (RDs) currently promote PA to their patients and if so, how they do it and with which patients. Method 

An anonymous questionnaire sent to 516 RDs in NHS teaching hospitals achieved a 77% (n = 397) return rate. Results 

Ninety-three per cent of respondents reported regularly promoting PA particularly with new patients. Among active PA promoters, 87% reported encouraged daily accumulation of PA, 50% focused on sport and exercise and 52% referred patients to GPs or Physiotherapists for advice.

Distinctive levels and styles of PA promotion were found to be related to levels of recent training in the field although fewer than one in four had actually received any formal training. Conclusions 

A high interest in further PA-specific training (95% of all respondents), together with high variability in the type and quality of advice suggests the need to develop further in-service training specifically for RDs.

Keywords: dietitians; physical activity promotion; questionnaire

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: 2004-02-01

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