How has COVID-19 pandemic changed dietetic practice? Across-sectional approach
Author(s): Annemarie B. Zamora*, Jeanne H. Freeland-Graves
Background: The Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic in the United States has affected healthcare practices substantially. Its
effect on dietetics professionals in clinical nutrition has been investigated recently, but not in terms of the internet and how it has changed
practice. Objective: This research aimed to investigate change of practice since COVID-19 pandemic in Registered Dietitians (RD).
Methods: Dietitians were contacted by email and asked to fill out a survey. A total of 3000 RDs were invited by email from April to August
2020; a total of 260 responded with complete information. Main outcomes were changes to dietetic practice since COVID-19, health behaviors
of clients/patients, and hours/week of internet use. Descriptives were calculated for demographic characteristics; linear regression models used
to estimate associations between change in practice since the COVID-19 and hours/week of internet use.
Results: Participants had a mean age of 47.8 years; averaged 29 hours/week of internet use; primarily Caucasian (93%); lived in suburban
(49%) locations; held a Master´s degree (59%) and worked in clinical nutrition (39%). The greatest change in dietetic practice due to COVID
were working remotely (64%), decreased business productivity (18%), cancellation of nutrition classes for clients (11%), and mandatory use
of PPE (7%). For the clients, there was more cooking at home (37%), snacking (26%), closure of gyms (60%) and less opportunities to leave
the house (15%).
Conclusions: COVID-19 has changed dietetics by a shift to online practice, increased time spent on the internet, and greater levels of anxiety
and isolation of clients.