PDH Working To Improve Diets

Friday, 5 December 2014
Portland District Health’s dietitians don’t like to see themselves as the “food police” but they do achieve great results by helping people to gradually adjust and improve their diets.

With increasing recognition in the community about the need to maintain a good diet and healthy weight, the PDH dietitians are keen to help local people to achieve their goals.

Justine Watts has recently joined the team which is led by senior dietitian Melissa Yip and supported by allied health assistant Debra Okaroh.

Ms Watts has moved to Portland from Goulburn Valley Health where she worked as a locum after graduating last year from Charles Sturt University.

I've always liked the idea of helping and motivating people in a health discipline and enjoy learning about how food can improve clinical health outcomes, so this is a perfect career for me, she said.

The idea of working in a close-knit rural community added to the appeal of coming to Portland. I did placements and work experience in rural communities and enjoyed the experience, Ms Watts said. The coast just added to the appeal of Portland.

The team aims to take a preventative approach to helping individuals and the broader community to address diet and weight problems.

We look at the high risk factors and aim to arm people with skills to better manage their diets, Ms Yip said. Our primary aim is prevention of chronic disease by helping people to maintain healthier lifestyles.

Although mainly aimed at younger people, The Portland SEA Change’ (Sustainable Eating and Activity Change) program has drawn more attention to the need for good eating habits.

Ms Yip said if people had concerns they should talk to their general practitioner and get a referral to see the PDH dietetics team.

Ms Yip said programs are patient-oriented and designed to suit individual needs.

We suggest baby steps and make sure each program suits the individual, Ms Yip said. I like to think that we are the GPS and the clients are the drivers.

The team can be contacted on 55 210653.

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