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[4 min read] Patient-centred care and the non-diet approach

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As anyone who works in healthcare will attest, patient-centred care (PCC) has taken centre stage as an integral component in high-quality care. This means putting people and their families at the centre of decisions and seeing them as experts, working alongside professionals to get the best outcome [1].


For further information on this topic, you may be interested to learn more about the HealthCert Professional Diploma program in Medical Nutrition Management.

One of the key ways to involve patients in their own health is by improving interactions between patients and healthcare providers, making care feel empathetic and compassionate, not merely transactional [2]. This might be shown through sharing decisions with patients and helping people manage their health, but person-centred care is not just about activities.

Why is patient-centred care important?

Research has found that person-centred care can have a big impact on the quality of care. It can [3]:

  • Improve the experience people have of care and help them feel more satisfied
  • Encourage people to lead a healthier lifestyle, such as exercising or eating healthily
  • Encourage people to be more involved in decisions about their care so they get services and support that are appropriate for their needs
  • Impact on people’s health outcomes, such as their blood pressure
  • Reduce how often people use services, which may in turn reduce the overall cost of care, but there is not as much evidence about this
  • Improve how confident and satisfied professionals themselves feel about the care provided

Reviews of research on patient-centred care found that this approach usually improves outcomes, for example through helping people learn more about their conditions, prompting people to be more engaged in health consultations and training professionals to facilitate care that empowers people to take part [4].

What is the non-diet approach?

Weight loss currently remains the primary recommendation for health improvement in individuals with high body mass index (BMI) despite limited evidence of long-term success. Weight neutral approaches have now emerged because of building evidence that “dieting” with a weight loss goal does not result in significant health improvements, regardless of weight changes.

In simplistic terms, the non-diet approach is a flexible, gentle way of choosing what to eat and when with no guilt, body shaming or restrictions [5, 6]. The primary aim is to banish the practises of dieting and instead promote a more holistic approach that encompasses emotional and physical health, i.e., using patient-centred care concepts.

Instead of focusing on a weight-oriented outcome, participants in a weight-neutral program are taught to take charge of factors such as thoughts and behaviours, which ultimately lead to improved well-being, regardless of weight.

Learn more about how patient-centred care and the non-diet approach can be incorporated into your practice with the online HealthCert Professional Diploma program in Medical Nutrition Management.

– Lynette Law, Accredited Practising Dietitian

Read another article like this one: Nutrition management in cancer


[1] A. Kitson, A. Marshall, K. Bassett, and K. Zeitz, “What are the core elements of patient-centred care? A narrative review and synthesis of the literature from health policy, medicine and nursing,” (in eng), J Adv Nurs, vol. 69, no. 1, pp. 4-15, Jan 2013, doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2648.2012.06064.x.

[2] N. Mead and P. Bower, “Patient-centred consultations and outcomes in primary care: a review of the literature,” (in eng), Patient Educ Couns, vol. 48, no. 1, pp. 51-61, Sep 2002, doi: 10.1016/s0738-3991(02)00099-x.

[3] S. S. McMillan et al., “Patient-centered approaches to health care: a systematic review of randomized controlled trials,” (in eng), Med Care Res Rev, vol. 70, no. 6, pp. 567-96, Dec 2013, doi: 10.1177/1077558713496318.

[4] S. A. Lewin, Z. C. Skea, V. Entwistle, M. Zwarenstein, and J. Dick, “Interventions for providers to promote a patient-centred approach in clinical consultations,” (in eng), Cochrane Database Syst Rev, no. 4, p. Cd003267, 2001, doi: 10.1002/14651858.Cd003267.

[5] D. Clifford, A. Ozier, J. Bundros, J. Moore, A. Kreiser, and M. N. Morris, “Impact of non-diet approaches on attitudes, behaviors, and health outcomes: a systematic review,” (in eng), J Nutr Educ Behav, vol. 47, no. 2, pp. 143-55.e1, Mar-Apr 2015, doi: 10.1016/j.jneb.2014.12.002.

[6] L. Bloom, B. Shelton, M. Bengough, and L. Brennan, “Psychosocial outcomes of a non-dieting based positive body image community program for overweight adults: a pilot study,” Journal of Eating Disorders, vol. 1, no. 1, p. 44, 2013/12/17 2013, doi: 10.1186/2050-2974-1-44.

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