The glossary below is an alphabetical list of terms that have been used on this website, and have been defined in the context of dietetic practice in Canada.

The glossary terms and definitions provide general guidance only.

A committee that governs the food service department contract, in a large healthcare facility, for example.
A paid service that supplies food and beverages to individuals/organizations. Commonly, weddings, graduations, and large parties may be catered.
An approach where the client’s needs and goals are the focus, and clients are encouraged to make informed decisions about their health. Read more.
Postgraduate physicians who have chosen to pursue post certification training or specialization.
An organization that delivers primary healthcare services in the community, with a focus on health promotion and community building. They prioritize improving the health of populations who have traditionally faced barriers accessing health services, such as physical, social, and economic barriers. Services may be provided by a variety of health professionals such as family physicians, nurse practitioners, nurses, social workers, dietitians, health promoters, community development workers and others. Read more.
A community-based cooking program that involves a group of participants who share in the planning, preparation and consumption of nutritious meals. Participants often develop social support networks, food skills, and budget skills.
An approach to providing leadership, structure and training for the purpose of achieving continuous improvement in a department or organization.1

1 Gregoire, M. (2012). Foodservice organizations: A managerial and systems approach (8th ed.). Toronto, ON: Prentice Hall Inc.
An individual who provides non-clinical nutrition care to patients, such as discussing and addressing food preferences. They often work with Registered Dietitians in Nutrition Care.
Individuals who are completing the practical training required to become a Registered Dietitian.
The process of preventing specific diseases by identifying risk factors, reducing the risks, or detecting early stages of disease.
A comprehensive set of nutrient reference values that can be used for assessing and planning diets for healthy populations. Read more.
A computer-based patient medical record used in a specific organization.
“The absence of avoidable or remediable differences among groups of people1,” regardless of differences in gender, race, ethnicity, educational level, income level, disability, geographic location and/or sexual orientation.

1World Health Organization (2015). Health Systems: Equity. Retrieved December 15, 2015 from
The systematic and thoughtful application of research evidence, combined with critical thinking and judgment, to guide decisions. This is a fundamental approach that is applied to all areas of healthcare including dietetic practice. Also referred to as evidence-informed practice. Read more.
An organization that delivers primary healthcare in the community with a focus on local health and community needs. Services may be provided by a variety of health professionals such as family physicians, nurse practitioners, nurses, social workers, dietitians and others. Read more.
The priority use of food products based on the time they were first placed in a storage system (also known as food rotation).
A place where basic food supplies, such as non-perishable foods, are collected via donations and provided at no or low cost to individuals in need. Read more.
“The ability of an individual to understand food in a way that they develop a positive relationship with it, including food skills and practices across the lifespan in order to navigate, engage, and participate within a complex food system.  It’s the ability to make decisions to support achievement of personal health and a sustainable food system considering environmental, social, economic, cultural, and political components.”1

1 Cullen, T., Hatch, J., Martin, W., Wharf Higgins, J. & Sheppard, R. (2015). Food Literacy: Definition and framework for action. Canadian Journal of Dietetic Practice & Research, 76, 140-145.
Food security is defined as having access to safe and nutritious food, at all times. Food insecurity arises when people do not have safe and nutrition food, at all times.
The pathway of food from growing, harvesting, processing, packaging, transporting, marketing, consuming and disposing it.  This includes the inputs needed to ensure the system functions, and the outputs generated at each step.
An organization made up multiple member organizations that have the ability to purchase large volumes of goods and services that they could not do independently. The benefits are reduced costs and increased access to goods and services.
An equation that estimates an individual’s resting energy expenditure using gender, weight, height and age as variables. Read more.
A food safety approach used to prevent hazards throughout the food production process. Read more.
Preventable and unjust differences in health status experienced by certain population groups on the basis of lower socio-economic status, gender, race, ethnicity, disability, geographic location and/or sexual orientation.
“The process of enabling individuals, groups and communities to increase control over and to improve their health.” 1

1 World Health Organization. (2015). Health promotion. Retrieved from
Canada’s healthcare system is mainly publicly funded and delivered in various settings, such as primary healthcare clinics, community health organizations, hospitals, rehabilitation centres, Long-Term Care homes, home care agencies etc. Read more
A public or private organization that employs a variety of health professionals to provide healthcare in settings other than hospitals. These may include an individual’s private home, a nursing home, or a hospice.
The rate of new cases of a disease occurring during a specific time period in a population at risk of developing the disease.1

1 The British Medical Journal (2015). Chapter 2. Quantifying disease in populations. Retrieved December 29, 2015 from
An individual who helps translate communications between patients/family members and healthcare providers.
A group of individuals who meet to discuss, systematically analyze and evaluate a journal (research) article. The purpose is to help keep members informed about current research and to help facilitate evidenced-based practice.
A summary of scholarly work on a particular topic.
A graphic depiction of the relationship between elements of a program or initiative that can be used for planning, implementation and/or evaluation purposes.1

1 Public Health Ontario (2012). Program Logic Models. Retrieved December 15, 2015 from
A facility that provides care and services to individuals with chronic illness and/or disability. Each province of Canada has distinct, yet similar, legislation, regulations and standards for operating Long-Term Care facilities.
An order given in advance by a physician/ordering authorizers* to enable an implementer (i.e. a nurse etc.) to decide to perform the order under specific conditions without a direct assessment by the physician or authorizer at the time. Medical directives are specific only to the healthcare setting they are completed in and apply to specific healthcare professionals.1 Read more.
*May include other providers such as dentists, midwives, etc. with legislative authority to order and prescribe in a healthcare institution.
1 Federation of Health Regulatory Colleges of Ontario (2007). What are orders, directives and delegation? Retrieved from
Nutritional assessment, diagnosis, and counselling for the purpose of disease management.
A type of study design that systematically assesses and combines findings from independent studies using a statistical technique in order to derive conclusions from a body of research. Read more.
A validated nutrition and screening assessment tool used in the assessment of malnutrition in adults 65 years of age and older. Read more.
A risk factor contributing to chronic disease that may be avoidable, altered or prevented.  Diet is considered to be one modifiable risk factor.
An area on a patient care unit that is designated as an administrative centre. It is often staffed by a clerical assistant. Medical paper charts are often kept and updated by various health professionals at the nursing station.
Literature that is reviewed by other researchers/experts (peers) in the field. Read more.
A planned approach to managing an employee’s work responsibilities and contributions with the goal of maximizing the success of an organization and encouraging employee development.
The period of time that includes pre-conception, conception, pregnancy, and after birth.
A short, brief report that outlines the rationale for choosing a specific policy or course of action regarding a single topic. 
Policy focused on creating a healthy society that recognizes the importance of the social determinants of health, as well as the expanded definition of health.
Population health is an approach that aims to improve the health of the entire population and to reduce health inequities among population groups. To reach these objectives, Population Health looks at, and acts upon, the broad range of factors and conditions that have a strong influence on health.
The first point of contact with the healthcare system.  Primary healthcare provides direct services for patients and coordinates specialized services when needed (e.g. from healthcare specialists).
A broad range of activities that enhance professional knowledge, skills, and abilities. For example, activities may include a workshop, conference, webinar, a Master’s degree etc.
The study of promoting the health of populations using approaches based in epidemiology, biostatistics, economics and behavioural sciences.
A health agency located in an urban or rural municipality that provides community-based health promotion and disease prevention programs.
Experiments that provide evidence for the effectiveness of a treatment or exposure, while including methods to reduce possible bias (e.g. randomly assigning participants to receive a current treatment or an alternative treatment). Read more.
The process of modifying recipes (e.g. nutrient content, cost, portion size, number of servings, etc.) using a standardized approach to meet the specific needs of a food service operation.
An organization that delivers services to those with physical impairments or disabilities in order to improve and/or restore functional ability and quality of life. May be located in hospitals and in the community.
A group of residents in a Long-Term Care home that act as key stakeholders and are involved in decision making. In some provinces, it is mandatory to have a Resident Council. Read more.
An operation that sells food to an end-user (e.g. restaurant customer).
A facility that provides housing primarily to older adults. In some cases, special services may also be provided. A retirement home does not receive funding nor is governed by provincial law. In some provinces, however, operators must be licensed and regulated under provincial legislation.
An approach to manage potential events that may cause harm to an organization and its stakeholders.  In food service, food safety, sanitation and facility maintenance are key components of risk management.1

1 Gregoire, M. (2012). Foodservice organizations: A managerial and systems approach (8th ed.). Toronto, ON: Prentice Hall Inc.
Key factors that influence/determine health. They include income and social status, social support networks, education, employment/working conditions, social environments, physical environments, personal health practices and coping skills, healthy child development, gender, and culture. Read more.
Reduces health inequities among populations by addressing a wide range of social conditions and factors that determine health, as well as the complex interactions among them. These can include things like income, education, employment/working conditions and social environments. Focuses on issues of equality and democracy, specific to the distribution of wealth, opportunities and privileges within society.
A sector of the food service industry that provides food and beverage services at on-site sports and recreation events such as professional tennis tournaments, competitive sports events or theme park outlets.
Individuals, groups or organizations who have an interest in, an influence on, or is impacted by, the planning, implementation and/or evaluation of a program, project and/or service.
An assessment tool used to identify risk of malnutrition and patients who would benefit from nutritional therapy. Read more.
A hospital that provides education and training to various health professionals. They are often affiliated with universities and engage in research activity.
A video X-ray that captures an individual’s eating and swallowing movements. It may assist in the assessment and diagnosis of swallowing problems.
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