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What does a dietitian do?

A dietitian practises dietetics and advises people over issues relating to food and nutrition. Dietetics is the science of applying knowledge in food and nutrition to promote the nutritional well being of all people.

Dietitians working in clinical settings provide medical nutrition services, i.e. the care and intervention to promote the nutritional well being of the patients taking into account their medical conditions and health needs.

Dietitians working in community settings advise people on optimal nutrition for disease prevention and health promotion.

Dietitians working in food services organize, plan and manage food services operations.

There are also dietitians working in other areas of dietetics, including sports nutrition for athletes, health screening, dietetic research, student training at universities, commercial food companies etc.

What are the job opportunities for dietitians in Hong Kong?

The Hospital Authority is the major employer. There are about 85 dietitians working for Hospital Authority. The second largest employer is Department of Health of HKSAR Government who employs around 18 dietitians at present.

There are also dietitians working with university health promotion centers, non-government healthcare organizations, sports institute, fast food chain, airline catering, food and nutrition companies or as private practitioner.

As people in Hong Kong is becoming more health conscious, there is a growing demand for dietitians in Hong Kong.

How to become a dietitian in Hong Kong?

The Hospital Authority and the Department of Health of the HKSAR Government are the two major employers in Hong Kong. To be eligible to apply for the post of Dietitian, you must obtain the Postgraduate Diploma or MSc in Human Nutrition and Dietetics at HKU SPACE (co-organized with the University of Ulster, UK), or its equivalent qualifications, namely:


Please visit the website of HKU SPACE to find out the prerequisite academic qualifications for the Postgraduate Diploma or MSc Course in Human Nutrition and Dietetics, and the official websites of CDR, HCPC, DC and DAA to find out more about becoming registered dietitians overseas. 


What is the difference between dietitian and nutritionist in Hong Kong?

Dietitians are graduates of recognized dietetic internship programmes that must include studies of dietetics and clinical placement. In countries like Canada and USA, the graduates must pass the registration examination before they can call themselves Registered Dietitians or Dietitians.

Unlike Dietitians, Nutritionists are graduates of food and nutritional science studies of which no dietetic studies or clinical placement included.

Is there any legal control for nutritionists and dietitians in Hong Kong?
Is there an examination board for licensing of dietitians in Hong Kong?

There is no statutory registration or licensing board for dietitians and nutritionists in Hong Kong.

Since the titles of dietitian and nutritionist are not protected in Hong Kong, it is not against the law that someone, without relevant academic background, to call himself or herself to practise as a dietitian or a nutritionist in the community.

However, the Department of Health of the HKSAR Government and the Hospital Authority, the two major dietitian employers in Hong Kong, only recognize holders of the Postgraduate Diploma or MSc in Human Nutrition and Dietetics of HKU SPACE, or its equivalent qualifications, namely, Registered Dietitian of Commission on Dietetic Registration (CDR), Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics; or Registered Dietitian of Health & Care Professions Council (HCPC); or Registered Dietitian of Provincial Registration, Dietitians of Canada (DC); or Accredited Practising Dietitians of Dietitians Association of Australia (DAA).

Neither the Department of Health nor Hospital Authority has post for a nutritionist.

To help the public to identify qualified dietitians, HKDA full members are given the title "Accredited Dietitian". To maintain the Accredited/Full Membership status, a HKDA full member has to fulfill the requirements for continuing dietetic education program. HKDA offers an online "Accredited Dietitian List" to help the public verify whether a practitioner is a HKDA Accredited Dietitian.

 

Dietetic Education and Career in HK