All patients, including those concerned about their dementia risk, should be encouraged to eat healthily, minimise saturated fat intake and increase fruit and vegetable consumption.
Patients should be advised to follow the Dietary Guidelines for Australians. These recommend that all adults:
- Eat plenty of vegetables, legumes and fruits
- Eat plenty of cereals, preferably wholegrain
- Include lean meat, fish, poultry and/or alternatives
- Include reduced-fat milks, yoghurts, cheeses and/or alternatives.
- Drink plenty of water
- Limit saturated fat and moderate total fat intake
- Choose foods low in salt
- Consume only moderate amounts of sugars and foods containing added sugars
Referral to a dietician may be appropriate for some patients. An Accredited Practising Dietician in your area can be found on the Dieticians Association of Australia website, which also provides information on healthy eating.
Lifescripts resources include guidelines, prescription templates and other resources to support helping patients to eat well.
The RACGP SNAP guide outlines the recommendations for assessment and intervention to help patients improve their diet.
The RACGP Guidelines for preventive activities in general practice (the ‘red book’) summarise the nutrition intervention recommendations for patients at different levels of risk.
The Implementing Lifestyle Change health professional education series has been developed by the Heart Foundation and the RACGP, to train GPs and practise nurses in influencing patients to adopt healthy behaviours including healthy eating.
The Australian Government Department of Health and Ageing website provides a range of information and resources related to nutrition, and links to state and territory health department websites and other nutrition related organisations and services.