Food poverty in Northern Ireland is an issue we all must help tackle – Hamilton

Date published: 09 June 2015

Food poverty, diet related diseases and malnutrition were all topics on the agenda as Health Minister Simon Hamilton addressed a British Dietetic Association event to mark Dietitians’ Week.

Speaking to an array of attendees from multiple Allied Health professions in Parliament Buildings, Minister Hamilton said: "People on low incomes have the lowest intakes of fruit and vegetables and are far more likely to suffer from diet-related diseases such as cancer, diabetes, obesity and coronary heart disease."

In Northern Ireland malnutrition affects 5% of the population and 14% of those are over 65.

The DHSSPS Strategy ‘Promoting Good Nutrition: A Strategy for Good Nutritional Care for Adults’ in all care settings supports improving the quality of nutritional care of adults in Northern Ireland.

Advice is provided to caterers to ensure appropriate nutritional care of all clients in HSC and other care settings such as nursing homes. Dietitians also plan and implement public health programmes to promote health and prevent nutrition related diseases.

The Minister continued: "Dietitians are making key contributions to ‘Transforming Your Care’ and the reform and modernisation of Health and Social Care in NI and 'Making Life Better' a strategic framework for Public Health.

"My ministerial colleagues also have a contribution to make to help address food poverty for example: adequate housing, transport roads, community infrastructure local community etc.

"I’m especially pleased that dietitians in Northern Ireland are taking time to focus on food poverty and ask for your ongoing commitment, your energy and your support to help ensure that service users receive the best quality care and advice through everyone involved in the business of delivering nutritional care."

Notes to editors: 

  • Dietitians are one of the 12 Allied Health Professions (AHPs) within the remit of the Lead AHP Officer, DHSSPS. They have an important role in the implementation of ‘Improving Health and Well Being through Positive Partnerships’, the DHSSPS Strategy for AHPs in NI. They are also making key contributions to; ‘Transforming Your Care’; the reform and modernisation of Health and Social Care in NI; and 'Making Life Better' - a strategic framework for Public Health.
  • Registered Dietitians (RDs) are qualified health professionals that assess, diagnose and treat dietary and nutritional problems at an individual and wider public health level. They work with both healthy and sick people.
  • A key role of a dietitian is to train and educate other workers in health and social care as well as voluntary and community groups.
  • Media enquiries about this press release to DHSSPS Press Office on 9052 0505, or out of office hours contact to Duty Press Officer via pager number 07699 715 440 and your call will be returned.

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