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Dietetics & Nutrition

Evidence-Based Practice Guide

For a more comprehensive discussion of Evidence-Based Practice, check out our Evidence-Based Practice Guide!

What is Evidence-Based Practice?

Originally coined as Evidence-Based Medicine, the concept has been expanded over the years to include a variety of disciplines and fields.  As such, you may see references to Evidence-Based Medicine, Evidence-Based Dentistry, Evidence-Based Nursing, and others.

However, for the most part these all refer to the same basic concept of Evidence-Based Practice (EBP), or using the best evidence available, combined with the practitioner's clinical expertise and the patient's preferences, to inform the care of patients.

EBP is typically broken down into 5 main steps:

  • Ask a focused clinical question
  • Acquire evidence to answer the question
  • Appraise the evidence found for quality and rigor
  • Apply the evidence to patient care
  • Assess the effect of this application on patient outcomes

What is evidence based dietetics practice?

The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics defines evidence based dietetics practice as involving "the process of asking questions, systematically finding research evidence, and assessing its validity, applicability, and importance to nutrition and dietetics practice decisions; and applying relevant evidence in the context of the practice situation, including professional expertise and the values and circumstances of patients/ clients, customers, individuals, groups, or populations to achieve"

Hand, R. K., Davis, A. M., Thompson, K. L., Knol, L. L., Thomas, A., & Proaño, G. V. (2021). Updates to the Definition of Evidence-Based (Dietetics) Practice: Providing Clarity for Practice. Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics121(8), 1565–1573.e4.

What is evidence based medicine?

"Evidence based medicine is the conscientious, explicit, and judicious use of current best evidence in making decisions about the care of individual patients.  The practice of evidence based medicine means integrating individual clinical expertise with the best available external clinical evidence from systematic research."

Sackett, D. L., Rosenberg, W. M., Gray, J. A., Haynes, R. B., & Richardson, W. S. (1996). Evidence based medicine: what it is and what it isn’t. BMJ : British Medical Journal312(7023), 71–72.

Finding Evidence-Based Nutrition Guidelines

The following organizations produce high-quality evidence-based practice guidelines and systematic reviews.

Understanding Evidence Based Practice

Video created by Steely Library at Northern Kentucky University (NKU).  This video is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.