Addressing barriers and enablers to dietitians completing body composition assessments as part of routine care

Shelley A Wilkinson*, Chloe Jobber, Fiona Nave, Elyssa Hughes, Barbara S Van der Meij

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalMeeting AbstractResearchpeer-review


Background: Malnutrition, sarcopenia and cachexia are clinical wasting syndromes characterised by muscle loss. Systematic monitoring by body composition assessment is recommended for diagnosis, treatment and monitoring of the syndromes. However, limited literature exists regarding integration of this process into routine practice.

Aim: To incorporate body composition assessment into a dietetic department using an implementation science approach.

Methods: Using a pre-post design, we assessed use of body composition assessment devices and (perceived) competency and attitudes of clinical dietitians towards body composition assessment before and after interventions. Barriers and enablers were categorised and interventions planned. Strategies included: (1) upskilling (professional development strategy), (2) modelling and reducing fear of change (Clinical Champion project), and (3) embedding as usual practice (departmental integration).

Results: Response rates were 84.6% (22/26) and 61.9% (13/21), respectively. Barriers were identified in all framework domains. Numerous enablers also existed. Two strategies were incorporated as planned (upskilling; embedding as usual practice), with one (modelling and reducing fear of change) iteratively applied. The Clinical Champion project ran for 12 rather than 6 months. One third of champions felt supported to conduct BCA (pre), which increased to 100% (post). Pre and post surveys showed a marked reduction in most perceived barriers and improved recognition of enablers across all framework domains; with a large proportion of ‘not applicable’ given for many barriers (post).

Conclusion: Dietitians experience numerous individual, team, and organisational barriers to adopting these assessments in clinical practice. Systematic, evidence-informed implementation can facilitate integration of BCA into dietitians' practice and departmental processes.
Original languageEnglish
Article number12
Pages (from-to)55
JournalNutrition and Dietetics
Issue numberS1
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2021
EventDietitians Australia 2021 Conference: What's possible? - Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre, Melbourne, Australia
Duration: 11 Jul 202113 Jul 2021


Dive into the research topics of 'Addressing barriers and enablers to dietitians completing body composition assessments as part of routine care'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this