Petition against the HPCSA lack of support to dietitians/nutritionist

Lack of support for evidenced based nutritional information is a struggle for Dietitians in South Africa. The lay public is being flooded with nutrition advice from individuals that are: 

1. Not an accredited health professional, specifically nutrition health professionals such as registered dietitians or nutritionist.

2. Promote themselves as nutritionists, sports nutritionist, nutrition specialists etc without any accreditation or registration with the HPCSA. 

 

In addition to this, the rights and privileges of writing and prescribing meal plans and diets are only reserved for individuals registered with the HPCSA as dietitians, but this is not the case in South Africa. Social media influencers with no degree are providing the public of South Africa with diets that are not evidenced based and causing harm. There are influencers treating clients with eating disorders because they themselves have had an eating disorder. This is unacceptable.

As Dietitians, we are concerned that even with this new legislation in place – many of the most influential South African women on social media are being allowed to give medical/nutritional advice (and for a fee) as well as sell meal plans, books (based on nutrition) and nutrition courses.

These influencers are providing nutrition advice and information resulting in Eating Disorders and they are providing the general public with inaccurate, biased information. They are promoting brands for money and as a result these brands one are making a fortune as they influence the general public to purchase such products from these brands. This is completely unethical and unregulated.

Health professionals such as ourselves are constantly criticised (and reprimanded) about the way we promote our practices and share information. This severely restricts our reach and our income, yet non-registered individuals, who have no governing body to hold them accountable, influence young girls, women and men, without any sort of repercussions.

If anyone can be giving nutrition advice or selling meal plans without any sort of credentials, education, training or even registration with the HPCSA then we, as the Dietetics profession are becoming replaceable & redundant? Dietitians HPCSA fees are the highest amongst all the allied health professionals, yet we are completely neglected in our profession and forced to advocate for ourselves.

Dietitians report such individuals to the HPCSA. A list of the following “Influencers” have been reported with case numbers and nothing has been said or done, in fact, they continue to spread false information and sell plans and products that can be harmful to the general public. What is actually being done to “investigate” these non-nutrition individuals?

Nothing.  

Within the link provided we have created a google document that dietitians/nutritionists or any other health professional can use to add names to report to the HPCSA.

List of Non-Qualified Individual providing nutritional advice and/or plans that have/have to be reported

We are frustrated and left with no hope in the HPCSA to protect our profession and most importantly to protect the people of this country against false and harmful nutrition information. We have now reached a point where we will no longer accept this non-existent support and protection of the HPCSA. We are tired of paying the HPCSA with a hefty amount of money every year, just for a piece of paper to allow us to work without any benefits to us.

We demand change and we want accountability from those individuals doing harm to our profession and even worse the people of this country. It is time for the HPCSA to take responsibility and start acting in the best interests of Dietitians, Nutritionists and the general public.

On behalf of all Dietitians in South Africa who have had enough of these “influencers" and the HPCSA doing nothing to support us and the public, we demand immediate action.

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