Model for multicultural nutrition counseling competencies

J Am Diet Assoc. 2000 Oct;100(10):1178-85. doi: 10.1016/S0002-8223(00)00342-4.


A model for multicultural nutrition counseling competencies for registered dietitians was developed and tested. Six hundred four registered dietitians who were members of The American Dietetic Association Public Health Nutrition Practice Group or directors of dietetic internships and didactic programs in dietetics were selected by a stratified random sample method and were mailed a survey. Respondents rated each of 46 competencies using a Likert scale to delineate how essential each competency will be for entry-level dietitians in the next 10 years. Of the 60% who responded (n=363), 94.4% met the study selection criteria. Most were white (85.7%), spoke English as their primary language (96.8%), and had a master's degree (64.4%). Many (37.9%) worked in community/public health facilities or organizations, and 50.4% provided nutrition counseling or education to clients culturally different from themselves. Exploratory principal components analysis extracted 3 factors with 28 competencies loading on them: multicultural nutrition counseling skills, multicultural awareness, and multicultural food and nutrition knowledge. Subjects responded similarly whether or not they provided nutrition counseling to culturally different clients. Secondary analysis revealed no significant interaction or differences between how bilingual dietitians and those of color scored items in the 3 factors. The resulting model is a guideline that can be used by educators to enhance dietetics education and training and by public health nutritionists as a basis for self-evaluation and selection of continuing education opportunities to enhance their multicultural nutrition counseling competence.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Clinical Competence / standards*
  • Cultural Diversity*
  • Dietary Services / standards*
  • Dietetics / education
  • Dietetics / standards*
  • Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice
  • Humans
  • Models, Educational*
  • Multivariate Analysis