Community Resources

Physicians at a primary care or family medical practice may not have the time or necessary training to guide patients regarding dietary change. Most communities have resources for patient referral, including diet counseling (dietitian), commercial programs (e.g., Weight Watchers), hospital programs, health plans (on-line, telephone education resources; case management for disease-specific diet concerns), and Internet sites. The most common referral is to a dietitian for dietary counseling. Many patients report frustration after a visit with the dietitian for the reasons outlined earlier: too much information that is too difficult to change too fast, as well as a lack of follow-up with the physician on the necessary changes. For this reason, it is important to consider how a program will help the patient learn the necessary information about nutrition and diet changes and how to make these behavior changes. Other considerations regarding community programs include cost, availability, and user needs.

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