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British Dietetic Association

Full name British Dietetic Association
Founded 1936
Members 7500+
Affiliation TUC, STUC
Key people

Sian O'Shea (Chairman)

Andy Burman (Chief Executive)
Office location Birmingham, England
Country United Kingdom

The British Dietetic Association (BDA) is a professional association and trade union for dietitians in the United Kingdom. It was founded in 1936 and became a certified union in 1982; it is affiliated to the Trades Union Congress and the Scottish Trades Union Congress.


The BDA was established in 1936. In 2016 the BDA celebrates its 80th anniversary.

Mission and scope

Its aims are to:

  • Advance the science and practice of dietetics and associated subjects;
  • Promote training and education in the science and practice of dietetics and associated subjects;
  • Regulate the relations between dietitians and their employer through the BDA Trade Union.

Organisation and membership

It is a UK-wide membership organisation representing around 7,000 dietitians and dietetic support workers. The BDA head office is in Birmingham, but has members from all four UK nations and some from overseas.

The majority of the BDA's membership work in the National Health Service; however, approximately one third of the membership work in other sectors, such as education, private industry, private practice and the media.

In the UK, 'Dietitian' is a legally protected title. Unlike nutritionists, and other food/nutrition titles, all dietitians are required to be educated to a certain level (a recognized UK degree level at least) and dietitians are the only food/nutrition professionals in the UK who must be regulated.

The BDA comprises six departments:

  • The Executive Department (Andy Burman, Head of Department and Chief Executive).
  • Membership Services (Milly Durrant, Head of Department.)
  • Education & Professional Development (Sue Kellie, Head of Department and Deputy Chief Executive).
  • External Affairs (Steven Jenkins, Head of Department).
  • Trade Union (Head of Department, vacancy).
  • Business Support (Karen Leek, Head of Department).

The BDA is a certified holder of the Information Standard. The Information Standard is a Department of Health certification scheme for health and social care information. Successful organisations can use the quality mark on materials to confirm that the information is from a reliable source.


The British Dietetic Association also administers the specialist register for dietitians and sports nutritionists working with elite sportspeople.

In 2011, the BDA Chairman at the time, Helen Davidson, announced the creation of a brand new BDA national campaign. The aim of the campaign was to highlight levels of malnutrition in older people living in their own homes in the UK. Mind the Hunger Gap was deemed a great success with much coverage and publicity across the UK, including advising the UL soap Emmerdale on a community malnutrition storyline in early 2013.

The BDA launched its most recent campaign in early 2014, which aims to highlight the work and value of dietitians.


The British Dietetic Association produces a monthly magazine called Dietetics Today. Simret Bassra-Brar is the magazine's Editor.


  • John B. Smethurst, Peter Carter, "Historical Directory of Trade Unions: Including Unions In, Building and Construction, Agriculture, Fishing, Chemicals, Wood and Woodworking, Transport, Engineering and Metal Working, ...", Historical Directory of Trade Unions vol 6, Ashgate Publishing, Ltd., 2009, ISBN 0-7546-6683-2, p. 428

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