Dietitians' attitudes regarding elderly nutritional factors

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Background and aims: The elderly are becoming a significant segment of the public receiving medical nutritional care in the community. Since dietitians are the professionals responsible for their nutritional care, the aim of this study was to assess dietitians' attitudes and correlates regarding elderly nutritional factors. Participants and methods: Questionnaires were distributed at a dietitians' conference to 114 dietitians working in the second largest HMO in Israel. Ninety-five questionnaires were returned. The questionnaire assessed different aspects of elderly nutrition, such as factors affecting elderly nutrition, medical conditions influenced by nutrition, and the dietitian's role in modifying elderly nutritional habits. Results: Participants reported that between 25% and 50% of their patients were elderly. They believed that dietitians are the only health care professionals who should be giving nutritional advice to the elderly. The more experienced dietitians were willing to share nutritional treatment plans with the patients' physicians. The participants in this study believed that nutritional advice may influence the elderly to change their nutritional habits. They recognized the impact that nutrition can have on different health conditions and identified a variety of factors affecting elderly nutrition, especially functional and medical conditions. Conclusions: Overall, dietitians working in the community viewed themselves as the main professionals responsible for counseling the elderly on nutritional issues. Although dietitians perceived their knowledge and skills in this area as very good, the researchers identified a need for further education, especially regarding the possible influence of socio-demographic characteristics on dietary intake and the value of educating the elderly to read and understand nutrition labels.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)45-58
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Nutrition for the Elderly
Issue number1-2
StatePublished - 5 Sep 2007


  • Dietitian's role
  • Dietitians
  • Knowledge and skills

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Nutrition and Dietetics
  • Geriatrics and Gerontology


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