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Ethics for the Dietetic Profession – A South African Perspective

  • Ernie KunnekeEmail author
  • Rina Swart
  • Nico Nortjé
Chapter
Part of the Advancing Global Bioethics book series (AGBIO, volume 13)

Abstract

The profession of dietetics has its foundation in science and dieticians are experts in food; diet and nutrition in improving the health of society. A dietician in South Africa, as a healthcare provider, practices in the fields of therapeutic nutrition, community nutrition, food service management and research and are faced with ethical decision making in these domains. As a profession guided by the Professional Board of Dietetics and Nutrition of the Health Professions Council of South Africa (HPCSA), all practicing dieticians in South Africa are guided and regulated by legal statutes which influence ethical and professional conduct. The professional body for dieticians in South Africa, the Association of Dietetics in South Africa (ADSA), also has a code of ethics for their members. Since 2007, eight cases of misconduct by dieticians had served at the HPCSA. Other ethical issues that dieticians in South Africa face are issues regarding conflict of interest, endorsement of products and sponsorship and there are possible ethical reasoning approaches, i.e. the principled or reasoned approaches that can be applied to guide dieticians in the process. In the three different practising fields for dieticians in South Africa, it is important that practitioners can reflect on ethical theories such as egalitarianism (deontology) or utilitarianism to guide ethical decision making. Jonsen’s method of analysing ethical issues can be applied especially in therapeutic cases to assist in analysing the ethical issues at hand. Dietetic practice in South Africa is characterised by diverse ethical issues that makes ethical decision making complicated.

Keywords

Ethics Dietetics South Africa Therapeutic nutrition Community nutrition Public health nutrition 

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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of the Western CapeBellvilleSouth Africa
  2. 2.University of Texas, MD Anderson Cancer CenterHoustonUSA
  3. 3.The University of the Free StateBloemfonteinSouth Africa

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