Virtual nutrition consultation: What can we learn from the COVID-19 pandemic?

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objective: To investigate the extent, quality and challenges of dietetic counselling during the pandemic. Design: A cross-sectional online thirty-six-item Google Survey. The survey queried demographics and information on usage and perceived telemedicine quality. Setting: The survey was distributed to Israeli Dietetic Association (ATID) mailing list between 31 March and 5 May 2020. Participants: Clinical dietitians, members of ATID, who consented to participated in the survey. Results: Three hundred dietitians (12 % of ATID members; 95 % women; mean age 4.41 (sd 10.2) years) replied to the survey. Most dietitians reported a significant ∼30 % decrease in work hours due to the pandemic. The most prevalent form of alternative nutrition counselling (ANC) was over the phone (72 %); 53.5 % used online platforms. Nearly 45 % had no former ANC experience. Both ANC formats were reported inferior to face-to-face nutritional consultation (consultation quality median scores 8 and 7, on a 1-10 scale, for online and phone, respectively). ANC difficulties on either phone or online platforms were technical (56 and 47 %, respectively), lack of anthropometric measurements (28 and 25 %, respectively) and interpersonal communication (19 and 14.6 %, respectively). Older age and former phone counselling experience were associated with higher quality scores, respectively (OR = 1.046, 95 % CI 1.01, 1.08, P = 0.005), (95 % CI 1.38, 4.52, P = 0.02). Those who continued to work full time had five-time greater odds for a higher quality score using online platforms (OR = 5.33, 95 % CI 1.091, 14.89, P = 0.001). Conclusions: Our findings suggest telemedicine holds considerable promise for dietary consultation; however, additional tools and training are needed to optimise remote ANC, especially in light of potential crisis-induced lockdown.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1166-1173
Number of pages8
JournalPublic Health Nutrition
Issue number5
StatePublished - 1 Apr 2021


  • COVID-19
  • Coronavirus
  • Dietitians
  • Nutrition
  • Nutrition survey
  • Telemedicine

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Nutrition and Dietetics
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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