These conference proceedings are for the 29th National Conference of the Dietitians Association of Australia (DAA), held in Adelaide, South Australia. The theme of the conference is ‘Evidence to Practice – not always black and white’. Recently the Board of Directors of the International Confederation of Dietetic Associations (ICDA) approved evidence-based dietetics practice as a new international standard of good practice.

Evidence-based dietetics practice is about asking questions, systematically finding research evidence, and assessing the validity, applicability and importance of that evidence. This evidence-based information is then combined with the dietitian's expertise and judgment and the client's or community's unique values and circumstances to guide decision-making in dietetics. (ICDA 2010)

One of the early fears expressed about evidence-based practice was that it was a ‘cookbook’ approach. This black and white thinking focused on evidence alone and negated the key factors identified in the ICDA definition that are used in combination with evidence to guide decision making – clinical expertise, judgement, values and circumstances. The theme of this conference fits well with the new international standard of good practice as it acknowledges that there is no ‘one size fits all’ approach to practice. The 2011 Scientific and Social Program Committee have developed an exciting and contemporary program to inspire delegates to investigate how to explore issues around the translation and implementation of available evidence into practice, especially relating this to their own area of practice.

This successful conference program is a reflection of the contribution of many individuals working over an extended period. The 2011 Scientific and Social Program Committee was established two years ago. I would like to thank Chairperson Liz Kellett and her team for their foresight with the theme and acknowledge the substantial effort required to produce a program of this calibre. Tourhosts, the Conference organisers, keep everyone on task and communicate well with authors and committee members. Over 200 abstracts were submitted to the conference, which is a record for the association. I am grateful to the dedicated team of Associate Editors and Scientific Committee Members who have undertaken the rigorous system of blind peer review of the abstracts within a very tight time frame. The DAA National Office makes a substantial contribution and I would like to thank Kate Paul, Amy Lewis and Kristy Parsons for their dedication. As a well-known Australian food and wine destination, Adelaide provides wonderful culinary experiences. The conference dinner at the National Wine Centre promises to be a highlight of the social program.

Australian dietitians have mad a substantial contribution to evidence-based practice and the work presented in these proceedings demonstrates that we are at the forefront of the new ICDA international standard for good practice.


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