If you are overweight and concerned about your diet, or if you have a problem with your health, a dietitian can help. It’s important to know how to find a registered dietitian and what to expect when you make an appointment.
What is a dietitian?
Dietitians help people to understand the relationship between food and health. They also help people change their diet so that they can become healthier, and stay healthy.
Dietitians must have a university degree in nutrition and dietetics, and must be accredited by the Dietitians’ Association of Australia.
Dietitians are often called Accredited Practicing Dietitians (APDs).
What does a dietitian do?
Dietitians provide expert nutrition and diet advice for people of all ages. They can help if you have a food allergy, high cholesterol, diabetes, cancer or gastrointestinal diseases, or if you are overweight. They can help with other health problems too.
In Australia, dietitians are different to nutritionists. Both are qualified to work in areas like public health, research and teaching, or in the food industry. But only a dietitian can give medical advice on nutrition and diet in private medical practices, medical centres, or hospitals.
What to expect from a dietitian
A dietitian will ask questions about your health, what you want to achieve, and what you eat and drink.
They will give you feedback and advice on your diet and health condition. They will also help you set food-related goals.
Cost of a dietitian
The costs for seeing a dietitian vary. Many charge between $70 and $150 an hour for a consultation.
Medicare covers some of the cost of seeing a dietitian only if your doctor refers you.
If you have private health insurance, some of the costs might be covered. Check with your health insurance company first.
Where to find dietitians
You can ask your family and friends. Or your doctor can refer you.
The DAA website allows you to search for an accredited dietitian. It can also tell you if a dietitian has been suspended, or is facing disciplinary procedures.
The healthdirect service finder lists dietitians and other health services.
Last reviewed: February 2016