The 6th ACD was hosted this August in Taipei, Taiwan. The ACD continues to be held every four years since the 1st Asian Congress of Dietetics was held in 1994. This year’s ACD was organized by the Chinese Dietetic Society (CDS) under the sponsorship of the Asian Federation of Dietetic Associations (AFDA), which is comprised of eleven member associations— Hong Kong Nutrition Association Ltd, Indian Dietetic Association, Indonesia Dietetic Association, Japan Dietetic Association, Korean Dietetic Association, Malaysian Dietitians’ Association, Pakistan Nutrition & Dietetic Society, Nutritionist-Dietitians’ Association of the Philippines, Singapore Nutrition & Dietetics Association, The Chinese Dietetic Society-Taiwan, The Thai Dietetic Association, and the affiliated member association—Dietitians Association of Australia.
The theme for this year’s Congress, “Advancing Health through Innovating Dietetic Practice Across Asia” covered a wide range of topics including the unique dietary culture in Asia, updates in clinical nutrition, strategies for effective health promotion, standards for dietetic accreditation, and the current and future role of dietetic professionals across Asia. The Congress boasted prestigious government and corporate sponsorship and a strong program with outstanding presentations delivered by distinguished international experts and scholars from seventeen different countries, as well as over 300 relevant research papers in areas of clinical nutrition, community nutrition, health promotion, food service management and dietetic education across Asia. A thorough history of the development and advancement of dietetic practice across Asia was presented, celebrating the progress that has been made over the recent past years while also acknowledging the current realities and obstacles facing the dietetic profession in countries across Asia. The Congress also encouraged active participation of the younger generation of dietitians and dietetic students with the first ever inclusion of the Student Dietetic in Nutrition Forum in Asia. With many newly established and continually developing dietetic associations, this year’s ACD placed heavy emphasis on future development of the dietetic profession by highlighting the value of the contribution of this up and coming generation of professionals.
The 6th ACD created an environment for open discussion and collaboration between countries towards the advancement of quality and effective dietetic practice across Asia with much discussion centered around the development of standards for qualification and accreditation of dietetics professionals. The 2011-2012 President of the Academy, Sylvia Escott-Stump, represented the United States in a panel discussion on the development of international qualification and accreditation of the dietetics profession as well as in a workshop on the topic of dietitian decision making in the role of the dietitian patient care.
The Academy and AODA made a strong appearance at this year’s Congress with symposium presentation by Academy staff partners Alison Steiber and Paula Ziegler on the development and use of the Evidence Analysis Library as a valuable resource in helping to improve nutrition and dietetics practice as well as the joint Academy/AODA presentation discussing the value of International Dietetics and Nutrition Terminology (IDNT) in maximizing application of the Nutrition Care Process (NCP) and medical nutrition therapy management. Both symposiums were moderated by AODA’s United States Country Representative, Camella Rising. Naomi Trostler represented the AODA as one of the speakers in the NCP presentation as well as the previously mentioned workshop regarding the dietitian role and decision making in patient care.
As a Registered Dietitian in the People’s Republic of China (PRC), where the need is great for advancing the dietetic profession, I found discussions regarding the development of dietetic accreditation to be of particular interest. Dr. Johanna Dwyer presented on dietetics in the country of China and the crossroads that the current situation presents. With a population of over 1.3 billion people, the nutritional complexities facing the country of China are enormous. Increasing modernization in a traditionally rural and ancient culture has led to a great amount of confusion surrounding the role of nutrition and its application both in clinical health and everyday living. With a coexistence of underweight, overweight, and micronutrient deficient populations, these nutrition challenges facing the Chinese population require ongoing professional involvement and demand nutrition professionals who can effectively deliver evidenced-based, culturally relevant nutrition information across China. That being said, the country has yet to develop a system for formal nutrition training and recognized dietetic accreditation. The questions posed in the presentation by Dr. Dwyer included whether the role of the dietitian was being carried out by professionals in other areas of expertise, the effectiveness of delivery of these services, and in what ways efforts can be focused to address these critical issues and the current nutritional state of the world’s most populous country. Although much work is to be done, partnership with other Asian countries may prove extremely valuable as China moves forward to answer these questions.
Asia continues to actively engage the international community in the advancement of dietetics. With outstanding professionals in areas related to nutrition and dietetics and an eagerness to collaborate and partner globally, I believe Asia will continue to make great strides in the years to come in developing the dietetic profession. As these countries continue to grow and advance, they will no doubt, continue to contribute greatly to the larger community of dietetic professionals across the globe.
Member, American Overseas Dietetic Association