British Dietetic Association

The British Dietetic Association (BDA) is a professional association and trade union for dietitians in the United Kingdom. It was founded in 1936 and became a certified union in 1982; it is affiliated to the Trades Union Congress and the Scottish Trades Union Congress.

The BDA was established in 1936. It is a UK-wide membership organisation representing around 7,000 dietitians and dietetic support workers. The BDA head office is in Birmingham, but has members from all four UK nations and some from overseas. Its aims are to:

> Advance the science and practice of dietetics and associated subjects;

> Promote training and education in the science and practice of dietetics and associated subjects;

> Regulate the relations between dietitians and their employer through the BDA Trade Union.

The majority of the BDA's membership work in the National Health Service; however, approximately one third of the membership work in other sectors, such as education, private industry, private practice and the media.

In the UK, 'Dietitian' is a legally protected title. Unlike nutritionists, all dietitians are required to be educated to a certain level (UK degree level) and must be registered with the Health & Care Professions Council. There is a distinct difference between a dietitian and a nutritionist.

The Patron of the BDA is Her Majesty the Queen (since 1983) and the BDA Honorary President is the GMB Union National President Mary Turner MBE. The Chairman is Helen Davidson and the Chief Executive Officer in Andy Burman.

The British Dietetic Association also administers the specialist register for dietitians and sports nutritionists working with elite sportspeople, the SENr.

In September 2010, the BDA attended the Trade Union Congress (TUC) in Manchester and their motion on Malnutrition and Dehydration (the first motion to be heard following the historic speech by the Governor of the Bank of England, Mervyn King) gained unanimous support and widespread media coverage. Subsequently, the BDA tends to table motions annually at the TUC, most recently at the TUC in Brighton in September 2012, highlighting levels of malnutrition in older people living in their own homes in the UK.

The BDA's Food Factsheets are used not only by the profession, but the wider public and media too.

The BDA achieves significant success in the UK media, often being referred to as the UK’s leading voice when it comes to food and nutrition. In addition, BDA media spokespeople are often seen in the news and appear in many television programmes. Their news section of their website is also a good source of up to date views and news.

In 2011 the BDA celebrated its 75th anniversary. To mark this landmark event, the BDA Chairman, Helen Davidson, announced the creation of a brand new BDA national campaign called Mind the Hunger Gap. The aim of the campaign is to highlight levels of malnutrition in older people living in their own homes in the UK. Mind the Hunger Gap has been deemed a great success with much coverage and publicity across the UK.

In 2012, it was announced that the BDA Chairman Elect (taking office in 2013) is Sian Burton.

The BDA is a certified holder of the Information Standard. The Information Standard is a Department of Health certification scheme for health and social care information. Successful organisations can use the quality mark on materials to confirm that the information is from a reliable source.

The British Dietetic Association produces a monthly magazine entitled Dietetics Today. Simret Bassra-Brar is the magazine's Editor.

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