Dietitian’s perceptions, knowledge and attitudes regarding their role in the assessment of food insecurity in Alberta

  • Author / Creator
    Medrano Chavez, Ana Luisa
  • During 2012, four million Canadians struggled to bring healthy foods to their tables. Dietitians play a key role in assessing food insecurity and in supporting individuals, families, and communities experiencing this problem. Yet, the detection of food insecurity is often missed during the routine nutritional assessment, and it is not clear why and to what extent this occurs.
    A grounded theory approach was used to understand the perceptions, knowledge and attitudes of Alberta dietitians from different areas of practice towards addressing household food insecurity in the dietetic practice. The findings revealed that complexity in addressing food insecurity was the central category associated with subcategories: perception of role, continuing education and training, availability of information, resources and support from health system, involvement in advocacy actions, and source of occupational stress. The central category referred to individual, community and organizational level barriers in screening and supporting clients living in food insecurity. These results point to dietitians’ need for assistance in developing appropriate skills, and having access to training and resources for screening and discussing food insecurity with clients. Advocating for food security issues was perceived as an important but informal part of the dietitian’s job, yet few dietitians reported being involved in food security advocacy. As well, feelings of constant discomfort, helplessness and inadequacy when screening clients for food insecurity were reported by dietitians.
    These findings will inform the gaps in knowledge for supporting dietitians in different settings to overcome barriers in incorporating food insecurity in routine nutritional assessments.
    Findings from this study will be used for the development of quantitative surveys aimed at further study of factors associated with poor screening of food insecurity in dietetic practice at a national level.

  • Subjects / Keywords
  • Graduation date
    Fall 2015
  • Type of Item
  • Degree
    Master of Science
  • DOI
  • License
    This thesis is made available by the University of Alberta Libraries with permission of the copyright owner solely for non-commercial purposes. This thesis, or any portion thereof, may not otherwise be copied or reproduced without the written consent of the copyright owner, except to the extent permitted by Canadian copyright law.