Background Dietitians are healthcare team members responsible for counseling patients with weight concerns. Both traditional/restrictive and intuitive eating/nonrestrictive practices are used with clients seeking weight loss. However, little is known about the weight management practices used with clients by dietitians in Kuwait, which are often related to the dietitians’ knowledge, attitudes, and work experience.
Objectives The purpose of this study was to assess the knowledge and attitudes regarding intuitive eating among dietitians dealing with clients for weight management in Kuwait and describe their use of restrictive versus nonrestrictive dietary practices.
Method This was a cross-sectional descriptive study. A self-administered survey was distributed among dietitians working with clients for weight management in public and private clinics.
Results In total, 163 participants completed the survey. Most dietitians (81.6%) had not heard of intuitive eating as an independent approach to weight loss and scored low on knowledge of intuitive eating; however, many demonstrated positive attitudes towards intuitive eating (68%). Moreover, dietitians in Kuwait used both restrictive/traditional (69.31%) and nonrestrictive/intuitive eating (79.82%) weight management approaches to counsel clients. Total knowledge was positively correlated with use of nonrestrictive/intuitive eating (r=.259, p=.003) and traditional/restrictive practices (r=.227, p=.009). Years of experience was not related to either practice style.
Conclusions Dietitians are combining both restrictive and nonrestrictive approaches for weight management with clients, and their practices are related to knowledge. These findings underscore the importance of continuous education for dietitians working in all sectors in Kuwait.