‘Dial-a-dietitian’ to be part of health-care action plan

Published on June 19, 2017

Registered dietitian Felicia Newell says people need reliable and credible information about nutrition and diet.

©Submitted photo

Sixty-three per cent of residents of Newfoundland and Labrador have at least one chronic disease.

In the province, residents show low rates of fruit and vegetable consumption, and high rates of alcohol consumption.

The “dial-a-dietitian” initiative announced as part of a new action plan is a service that hopes to encourage the people of Newfoundland and Labrador to pursue a healthier lifestyle.

The initiative will be an expansion of the Newfoundland and Labrador HealthLine to include the services of registered dietitians.

Felicia Newell, a registered dietitian, nutritionist and health coach, says this initiative will benefit people across the province.

“This program will be ideal for people living in rural parts of the province,” said Newell. “There are also a lot of people who live in town, and work full time, but dietitian services still aren’t covered under their insurance policies.”

Through this service, residents of the province will be able to call a dietitian to receive information on healthy eating, and be referred to additional services in their region.

“In the age of social media everything goes viral so easily, and everybody thinks that they are a nutrition expert,” said Newell. “It makes it really confusing for people to get credible information when there’s so much conflicting information online.”

With this initiative, residents of Newfoundlanders and Labradorians will no longer have to search their symptoms online. Registered dietitians are trained to provide advice about diet, food and nutrition, and will soon be only a phone call away.

Actions to be taken include:

• In 2017, ensure new dietitians are hired and trained to work as HealthLine providers.

• In 2017, launch and promote the dial-a-dietitian service to individuals, families and health-care providers across the province.

• In 2018, evaluate the dial-a-dietitian service to ensure it is meeting its goals.