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From the editor.

This is my first issue as Editor of the Journal, and as I take the baton from Margaret Allman-Farinelli I draw on her parting words. In the last issue Margaret suggests we look back from whence we came to get a clear view of where we are going. In this issue of the Journal there is plenty to take us forward, but as our past shows, progress has not always been easy. Nor is progress a path we have been afraid to take. It is wrought with ambiguities and obstacles, many of which demand serious consideration in order to move forward. The Journal can help this process by acting as a forum for debate through its articles and Letters to the Editor. Please consider these avenues as you read this issue, and take note of some of the burning questions raised by our hard working contributors. I would be very happy to receive your responses for publication in the Letters section.

The current President of DAA, Sandra Capra leads the charge with a thought-provoking Editorial. She asks a number of questions on the risks and benefits of multiprofessional education. She calls for a balance between professional needs and those of students in the changing work environment. What do you think? Later in this issue, Hughes presents a set of views from a group of public health nutritionists on the relevance of professional dietetic education to public health nutrition practice. Do you agree?

Both the leading articles pose challenges in relation to their referent papers. Mackerras and Rutishauser provide a detailed and disciplined outline of the limitations in using data from the National Nutrition Survey. They ask the question: given the information collected in the NNS, what can we do and what can we not do? They then argue that some of the analytical decisions and subsequent results in the paper by Cobiac et al. could be constructively debated. Food for thought. Cobiac and colleagues in turn, show that women consuming very high sugar diets may be increasing their risk of inadequate intakes of some nutrients and that intakes of sugars appear to be poor predictors of health variables. This is important information and well worth thinking about.

Gill provides the second leading article, relating to the Position Statement of the National Heart Foundation of Australia on Dietary Fat and Overweight/Obesity, published in this issue. These two papers are of particular relevance to those interested in evidence-based practice because they expose some of the ambiguities that regularly challenge practitioners. In keeping with the nature of a position statement, the NHF paper outlines the objectives of the review and systematically reports on published articles related to concluding statements. Readers will recognise the use of a categorical system to assess evidence in a transparent way. Despite this process, Gill takes issue in that a role for total dietary fat in the prevention of weight gain and the treatment of overweight and obesity appears rejected, and argues that this puts the NHF at odds with the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) publications in this area. How do practitioners deal with these apparently opposing views? How are the NHF statements different to NHMRC guidelines for clinical management or population eating patterns? How might the two be reconciled? Gill refers to the 'long and tortuous passage between science and policy', but the answer might lie somewhere between strategies for generating dietary advice--the 'what to do' versus the 'how to do it'. The apparent discrepancies might result from the 'coarse graining' that occurs when shifting from population to individual approaches, or from policy to actual practice. I will leave further discussion for your Letters to the Editor.

These papers are followed by optimally positioned articles on the dietetic management of overweight and obesity by Collins and an evaluation tool for rating popular diet books by Williams and Williams. An interesting food habits paper on the arrival of Mediterranean recipes and food in Australian magazines by Noah and Truswell follows. The continuing education quiz by Anne McMahon, aided by Heather Yeatman and Peter Williams covers food regulation, and readers can learn about the newly formed Dairy Australia in the sponsor's section. There is something for everyone in this issue of the Journal. Enjoy reading it and I hope to hear from you about some of the many interesting topic areas covered.

Finally, thank you to Margaret Allman-Farinelli and Jill Sherriff who is also ending her term as an Associate Editor, for their highly valuable contributions over four years, and welcome to Evangeline Mantzioris and Sarah McNaughton who have been appointed as Associate Editors.
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Author:Tapsell, Linda
Publication:Nutrition & Dietetics: The Journal of the Dietitians Association of Australia
Date:Sep 1, 2003
Previous Article:A sponsor's profile: Dairy Australia.
Next Article:Multiprofessional education--a future focus in dietetics education?

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