According to the 2015 Tracking Nutrition Trends national poll, a vast majority of Canadians (88 per cent) believe in dietitians as a trusted source for information about food and nutrition.
This is because dietitians—whether working one-on-one consulting with clients, advising government on nutrition policy, playing leadership roles in food management, production and marketing or educating future dietitians and health professionals—rely on the best available evidence to inform their work.
This evidence is generated by ongoing dietetic research that looks at new and better ways to enhance patient care, promote health and prevent nutrition-related illnesses.
To support the high quality dietetic research being conducted at hospitals and universities all across Canada, the Canadian Foundation for Dietetic Research (CFDR) has launched Research 360—a club for those committed to continued research through easy monthly donations.
By joining the Research 360 club, you’ll be supporting the dietetic profession and ensuring the continued generation of food and nutrition knowledge that dietitians rely on in their practice each day.
As a clinical dietitian in the Cardiovascular Prevention and Rehabilitation Program at Toronto’s University Health Network (UHN), Maria Ricupero relies on scientific evidence to guide her work with her patients. But often, her biggest roadblock to success in working with people living with heart disease, stroke and type-2 diabetes is quantitative metrics.
UHN dietitian Maria Ricupero
“It’s common practice to focus on weight and waist circumference to set goals for these patients, who are typically classified as overweight or obese,” Maria explained. “They usually hear their doctors tell them that they need to lose weight. But this fails to capture the psychological struggles they face and it doesn’t address effective outcomes.”
While working on her Master’s degree, Maria learned about the Health at Every Size (HAES®) movement, which is founded in the principle that “improvements in health can be achieved regardless of shape or size.” This informed her own research and her “non-weight focused approach” to health that informs the group-based and individual counselling she does as part of a care team in a six-month cardiac rehab outpatient program at UHN.
“In a given year our program sees 2,200 patients, and I counsel at least half of them,” Maria said. “Most of the patients do not lose weight for a variety of factors: medications, sleep problems and basic biology. Instead of focusing on weight and ‘good vs. bad foods’ that often leads to guilt and shame, I instead focus on mindfulness principles, letting go of judgement and overall health and well being.”
“Research shows that healthy behaviours do help to improve health despite no changes in weight,” Maria continued. “I applaud the efforts of CFDR as they work to fund increasing amounts of evidence, and new approaches to clinical interventions, that support dietitians like me across Canada.”
Visit our page at cfdr.ca to read more about Maria’s work and how you can join the Research 360 club for as little as 67 cents per day.