IMPROVING Swindon’s health was experts’ mission yesterday as the first Dietitians Week got underway in the town.

Dietitians were on call at the Great Western Hospital to answer questions from patients and residents and promote healthy eating to kick off the awareness campaign.

As well as helping people understand their daily food intake at a special session at the hospital, the team also promoted a dietitian’s crucial role in setting the community on a more wholesome path.

Rebecca Jewell, community dietitian at the hospital, said: “The whole idea is to think about weight across the board.

“It’s about people knowing what is safe and sensible. There is no secret. It’s just about eating a healthy and balanced diet.

“We want to try to dispel some of the myths out there. There is a lot of wrong information in the media for example about what you can or can’t eat.

She added: “Choosing the right person to seek nutritional help and advice from can sometimes be confusing.

“Anyone can say they are experts in nutrition but registered dietitians are the experts when it comes to nutrition.

“We help people with realistic, safe and achievable weight loss rather than extreme fasting diets.”

GWH’s dietitians run clinics and offer a range of group sessions for patients to promote behaviour change, covering areas such as cardiac rehabilitation, coeliac disease, weight management and diabetes.

As well as dealing with Swindon’s growing obesity problem, the dietetics service aims to tackle its other extreme – under-nutrition – which affects potentially hundreds of people in the town, with those aged over 65 most at risk.

As part of the week of action launched under the Trust a Dietitian campaign, a series of workshops and events will take place at GWH.

Today the team will hold a special Twitter Q&A between 3.30pm and 4pm on managing obesity and weight loss.

Tomorrow will be dedicated to the issue of malnutrition. Staff will stage recipe demonstrations and hold a tasting of special fortification drinks.

On Thursday, the team will look at meeting the nutritional needs of children and managing allergies.

Friday will focus on heart health and diabetes.

  • To take part in the Twitter Q&A tweet @GWH_NHS and use #AskGWH.
  • All activities and displays for the week will be held in the main Atrium reception at GWH and the dietitians will be on hand each day from 12pm-2pm for advice and support.
  • More information about the Trust’s Nutrition and Dietetic Service is available on their website at