Dietitians are qualified health professionals who are regulated by law and only those practitioners registered by the Dietitians Board can use the title of Dietitian.
The Dietitians Board protects the health and safety of the New Zealand public by ensuring that every dietitian working in New Zealand is fit to practice and meets standards of professionalism required by the Health Practitioners Competence Assurance Act – HPCA Act (2003).
In New Zealand, dietitians are the only nutritional health profession to be regulated by law.
Registered Dietitians have an accredited undergraduate health science degree, as well as a post-graduate qualification in Dietetics.
Registered Dietitians work in a wide range of places assisting people to improve their health & lifestyle through optimal nutrition. Specifically, dietitians are Registered health practitioners who evaluate scientific evidence about food and nutrition and translate it into practical strategies. Dietitians work with individuals, whānau, communities and populations in states of health and disease to support optimal health and well-being.
Dietitians use their dietetic knowledge, skills, and judgement in a variety of contexts, which includes promoting and protecting public health, directing and delivering medical nutrition therapy services, and managing food and health systems. They may perform a variety of functions including policy development, leadership, management, research, education, and communication roles.
Dietitians with a prescribing endorsement are able to prescribe special foods and approved nutrition-related medicines.
Dietitians are accountable for ensuring that their practice is consistent with the Dietitians Board’s competency requirements, Code of Ethics and Conduct, and the relevant legislation.
Being governed by a Code of Ethics and Conduct ensures that dietitians always work to the highest standard and are the most credible source of food and nutrition advice.
You can find a list of currently practising dietitians on the Boards public Register located in the top right hand corner of this website. Only those on the Register can call themselves a dietitian and practice as a dietitian. Use the Register search function to check your nutrition health professional is registered with the Dietitians Board and has a current Annual Practising Certificate (APC).
Other professions working in the community providing nutrition services are nutritionists.
There is no legal regulation or control over the use of the title Nutritionist. The title of Registered Nutritionist can only be used by those who meet the standards determined by The Nutrition Society of New Zealand. Registered Nutritionists must hold a Bachelor degree or post-graduate qualification majoring in human nutrition. In addition, they must have 2-3 years of professional experience in the field of nutrition. Registered Nutritionists can work in a diverse range of settings. Registered Nutritionists work within their specific fields of expertise (as determined by the Nutrition Registration Panel), adhere to The Royal Society of New Zealand Code of Professional Standards and Ethics and must participate in a Continuing Education Competency Programme. The term ‘nutritionist’ can be freely used by anyone regardless of qualifications.
When looking for someone to provide dietary advice, the qualifications and registration of the person should always be checked.