Dietitians at your fingertips

Local residents are now able to email or call HealthLink B.C.’s dietician services to have their dietary questions and concerns answered.

Local residents are now able to email or call HealthLink B.C.’s dietician services to have their dietary questions and concerns answered.

According to HealthLink B.C. up to 30 per cent of all chronic diseases are related to poor nutrition and more than half of adult British Columbians are overweight or obese.

Ten registered dietitians have recently been hired and are available via the 811 number to support those managing chronic conditions, as well as answer questions on topics such as baby nutrition, food allergies and provide advice on heathy eating  and meal and school lunch box options.

General call centre dietitians will answer most of the nutrition questions.

More complex allergy and cancer nutritional questions are referred on to an allergy or oncology dietitian, also available through the service.

The dietitians at HealthLink B.C. are able to provide nutritional information for everyone, regardless of age.

The Ministry of Health funded service is also now operating for expanded hours.

Telephone access to registered dietitians through the 811 number is available between 8 a.m. and 8 p.m., Monday to Thursday and 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Fridays.

The ministry said the hours have been increased in an effort to make the service more accommodating to working families.

An email service is also available by visiting www.healthlinkbc.ca.

Barb Leslie, director of dietitian services for HealthLink B.C. said, “Our team is ready to take questions on everything from vegan diets to energy drinks.”

She said  it’s as simple as visiting the website, filling out the form, typing in your question and hitting the send button.

HealthLink B.C. receives approximately 19,000 phone calls per year and is available to the deaf and hearing impaired via a 711 teletext number.

Interpreter services are also available in over 130 languages upon pre arranged request.

Health Minister Michael de Jong said, “We want British Columbians to have simple access to practical advice when planning a meal.”

“Whether by telephone or by email, it’s never been easier to make the healthy choice be the easy choice.”

The ministry say that an ongoing investment in prevention can improve the health of British Columbians and potentially avoid up to $2 billion in yearly health care costs.

According to a report released in September 2010 by provincial health officer Dr. Perry Kendall obesity alone costs up to $830 million a year to the economy.

For more information  phone 811 or go to www.healthlinkbc.ca.