In Canada, chronic diseases including cardiovascular disease, diabetes, respiratory disease, mental illness, and cancer are the leading causes of disability and premature death. Treatment of chronic disease consumes 67% of all direct health care spending and costs the Canadian economy $190 billion annually—$68 billion is attributed to treatment and the remainder to lost productivity1, 2 According to the Global Burden of Disease study, unhealthy diet has been the leading risk factor for illness, death, and disability both in Canada and worldwide for more than 2 decades.3
It has been estimated that more than 30,000 deaths could be averted or delayed annually in Canada if our diets complied with dietary recommendations, particularly for greater fruit and vegetable intake.4
A recent meta-analysis concluded that, at a population level, the risk of cardiovascular disease was reduced by 4% and that total premature death rate was reduced by 5% for each additional daily serving of fruits and vegetables.5
The evidence is overwhelming in that it supports the idea that if we ate better, quit smoking and exercised more that we as Canadians would live longer, be far more productive and half much more wealth to share. With this in mind, Assistance Services Group has added a team of Registered Dietitians to our clinical team that already includes lay navigators, Registered Nurses, Nurse Practitioners, and Lifestyle Coaches (CareCoach®).
Teledietetics delivers positive outcomes and highly effective dietary interventions have been successfully adapted for phone delivery. Dietitians, including those from Assistance Services Group, are trained in behaviour change theories and motivational interviewing; both of which are facilitated by telephone counselling6. Telephone counselling delivered by dietitians, as part of a nutrition intervention, leads to healthier food behaviours such as increased fruit and vegetable intake, decreased fat and sodium intake, decreased energy intake. Telephone counselling provided by a dietitian is an effective component of interventions for chronic diseases, leading to positive health outcomes such as improved blood sugar control for people with diabetes, weight loss and decreased body mass index, improved blood pressure, decreased waist circumference, decreased prevalence of metabolic syndrome, reduced hospitalizations and increased quality of life for individuals with heart failure6. Teledietetics improves client access to evidence-based advice from dietitians for health promotion and disease prevention, as well as management of diet-related conditions6.
The Assistance Services Group Dietitian service can be delivered as an element of one of our Telehealth programs (Triage, Breastfeeding Support), our CareCoach® Wellness or Chronic Disease Management Services or as a stand-alone model of care. Our Dietitians are supported by evidence-based tools and referral networks. They also have access to the other healthcare professionals that are part of the Assistance Services Group clinical team.
1. Advisory Committee on Population Health, Health Security Surveillance Systems for Chronic Disease Risk Factors Task Group. Enhancing capacity for surveillance of chronic disease risk factors and determinants. Ottawa, ON Chronic Disease Risk Factors Task Group; 2005.
2. Jacka FN, Mykletun A, Berk M, Bjelland I, Tell GS. The association between habitual diet quality and the common mental disorders in community-dwelling adults: the Hordaland Health study. Psychosom Med. 2011;73:483–90. [PubMed]
3. Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation. Global burden of disease arrow diagram. Seattle, WA: Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation; 2013. Available from: www.healthmetricsandevaluation.org/gbd/visualizations/gbd-arrow-diagram. Accessed 2010 Mar 15.
4. Bélanger M, Poirier M, Jbilou J, Scarborough P. Modelling the impact of compliance with dietary recommendations on cancer and cardiovascular disease mortality in Canada. Public Health. 2014;128(3):222–30. [PubMed]
5. Wang X, Ouyang Y, Liu J, Zhu M, Zhao G, Bao W, et al. Fruit and vegetable consumption and mortality from all causes, cardiovascular disease, and cancer: A systematic review and dose-response meta-analysis of prospective cohort studies. BMJ. 2014;349:g4490. doi. Erratum in: BMJ 2014;349:g5472. [PMC free article] [PubMed]
6. Dietitians of Canada. Dietitians in TeleDietetics. Toronto, ON: Dietitians of Canada; 2018. Available from: https://www.dietitians.ca/Downloads/Public/Dietitians-in-Teledietetics-bilingual.aspx and Practice-based Evidence in Nutrition® – Telehealth/teledietetics. Accessed 2018 Aug 16