Training of clinical dietitians, across India, should be standardised to raise the bar of dietetic practice

Dr Jagmeet Madan, National President, Indian Dietetic Association

January 10 is observed as National Dietetics Day in India. It is a day to celebrate the Nutrition and Dietetics Fraternity and its significant contribution towards the health and wellness of the people at large with a special focus on the vulnerable groups. The theme for this year was ‘Future of Dietetics in Public Health – A Way Forward’. nuFFOODS Spectrum reached out to Dr Jagmeet Madan, National President of, the Indian Dietetic Association (IDA) to understand the challenges before the dieticians and how IDA addresses them. Edited excerpts:

As per the IDA website, there are 13,000 members. Are these registered dieticians?

IDA is in the process of streamlining the membership process and collating the data of its members. A pioneering effort was made by IDA in collaboration with the PSG Institute and the American Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics in 2022 to publish a paper entitled ‘Clinical Dietetics Practice Audit: A Collateral Collaboration of Dietitians from India and the United States,’ D Shanthi, Esther Meyers, Jagmeet Madan et al (2022) in Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, which gives some idea about the number of Registered Dietitians in India. This number is still very limited and their job descriptions are varied depending on the type of hospital and clinical setup. There is a need to standardise the training of clinical dietitians across the country to raise the bar of dietetic practice. The academic institutions have a huge role to play. The implementation of the National Education Policy (NEP) 2020 and Empowered Autonomous Status awarded to the academic institution is a big boost in this direction.

What kind of support do you expect from the food industry and food regulatory agencies to overcome this gap?

The food industry and food regulatory agencies are important stakeholders of the existing ecosystem. The interface between nutrition experts and the food industry can be very fruitful in bringing practical and relevant food based and active food ingredient-based solutions for the consumer. The regulatory agencies especially the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) have been playing a very important role in setting the standards to ensure quality products are produced. The nutritionist can also play a very important role in knowledge dissemination about the science and quality of the variety of food products manufactured by the industry and regulated by the government bodies to all stakeholders.

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