International Dietitians’ Day

12 March 2013

Everyday dietitians around New Zealand apply their specialised food and nutrition knowledge to improve the health of New Zealanders. To celebrate the work of this invaluable group of health care professionals, New Zealand Dietitians will be celebrating International Dietitians’ Day on the 13th of March 2013.

The theme for this year is “Eat right, your way, every day” which supports dietitians key lifestyle messages:

  • Go easy on salt, fat and sugar
  • Make mealtimes family time
  • Eat mostly “every day foods” and “sometime foods” occasionally
  • Shop smart and eat smart
As a dietitian’s role often goes unrecognised in the community, the primary goal of International Dietitians’ Day is to raise awareness of registered dietitians as the key nutrition experts that translate the science of nutrition into practical use for the benefit of the public. New Zealand Registered Dietitians work in a wide variety of settings, including specialist services in hospitals, public health organisations, private practices, aged care facilities, government agencies, sporting arenas, universities and the food industry.

The term dietitian is a protected term referring to a registered health professional who meets standards required by the NZ Dietitians Board under the Health Practitioners Competency Assurance Act (HPCA) 2003. A Dietitian not only has an undergraduate science degree in human nutrition but also a postgraduate qualification in dietetics. To practise in New Zealand, by law a dietitian must be registered with the Dietitians Board and hold a current practising certificate, work within a specified scope of practice, participate in a continuing competency programme and adhere to a Code of Ethics.

In contrast the term nutritionist is not a protected term and therefore can be used freely by anyone, as there is no specific qualification or legal registration process required. A nutritionist may have a PhD in a specialty area of nutrition or equally be someone providing services with no formal training. Nutritionists who meet set criteria are able to register with the Nutrition Society of New Zealand.

If you think you could benefit from an appointment with a dietitian, ask your doctor for a referral to one. Alternatively, you can go directly to a dietitian without a referral. To find a private practice dietitian in your area visit

For more information please call
Sue Carrington
Media Adviser
Ph 021 367 789

Last updated: Tuesday, March 12, 2013

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