During a dietary assessment, a detailed history is taken to estimate energy and nutrient intake of the diet as a whole and includes such questions as what, when and how much is eaten. An overall estimate of nutritional intake can be made for energy, protein, essential fats, fibres, carbohydrates, sugars, vitamins and minerals with a focus on the key minerals calcium and iron.
Measurements of growth, indications of digestion and overall nutrient intake are considered together with the presenting symptom or problem. Family and individual medical background is also discussed together with any medications. Blood or allergy tests when available are helpful, and if indicated may be requested from your GP or specialist service. An allergy focused clinical history is integrated to this when food allergy is suspected.
In addition, an understanding of the child and family’s lifestyle and routines including work, school, physical and other activities helps to tailor dietary advice and support.
Nutrition education, dietetic treatment and an agreed level of individual advice/support is then built around this assessment. This may include treatment or meal plans, agreed success criteria, and in some instances onward referral eg. for psychological support. A specific dietary assessment is conducted if there is concern about an eating disorder or an infant feeding assessment for little ones.