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What is a dietitian and how can I see one?

If you are concerned about your diet or if you have an issue with your health that relates to your diet, a dietitian can help. It’s important to know how to find a registered dietitian, how much they cost and what to expect when making an appointment.

What is a dietitian?

According to the Dietitians Australia website, dietitians help people understand the relationship between food and health. They essentially help individuals change their diet and lifestyle to maximise a client’s goal to become healthier, stay healthy and improve their overall health and well-being.

Dietitian’s must have a university degree in nutrition and dietetics and those who only satisfy the strict criteria are eligible to join the Accredited Practising Dietitian Program (APD), administered by Dietitians Australia. This program is the only recognised and credentialed program by the Australian Government (with respect to Medicare and Department of Veterans’ Affairs’ purposes) and inclusive of many state governments and private health insurers.

What do dietitians do?

Dietitians provide expert nutrition advice for people of all ages. They can assist you for numerous of conditions such as if you have high cholesterol, diabetes, food allergies/intolerances or sensitivities, cancers, polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS), endometriosis, or if you are overweight or obese.

In Australia, dietitians are different to nutritionists. Although both are qualified (here we are referring to those nutritionists with a degree/accreditation, because anyone can technically call themselves a nutritionist) to work in areas of public health, food industries or teaching. Dietitians however, are also qualified to work in hospitals, private medical practices, or medical centres.

In the consultation, a dietitian will ask questions about your health and wellbeing, what your goals are/what you want to achieve and what you eat and drink on a habitual basis. They may also gather some anthropometric assessments such as weight, height and body fat.

Dietitians will also give you advice and feedback on your diet and health condition. They will also help you establish food-related goals. They may also refer you to additional health services if they see it is necessary and will plan any follow-up appointments.

What does it cost to see a dietitian?

The cost to see a dietitian can vary significantly. Some charge between $75 to $250 for 45 minutes to an hour consultation. Do note, just because you’re paying more, doesn’t always mean you will be getting a better service!

If you receive a Care plan from your doctor, Medicare covers some of the cost of seeing a dietitian. However, at Exercise Healthcare Australia, we believe that everybody should be able to access quality care for free. Therefore, we DO NOT charge a gap fee for dietitian services if you still have an eligible Medicare Care plan.

If you have private health insurance, some of the costs might be covered by your health insurance. Make sure you check with your health insurance first.

For NDIS participants, if you have a service agreement stating that you wish to see a dietitian and believe it will be beneficial, you are also eligible to access a dietitian. Here at Exercise Healthcare Australia, we welcome everyone and with our short wait times, you can access a dietitian quickly.

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