A concern was lodged with the Health Professionals Council of South Africa (HPCSA) as a matter of public interest after a tweet from Professor Tim Noakes advising a mother to “wean” her baby on to a low carbohydrate high fat (LCHF) diet.
The concern was referred to the HPCSA to adjudicate in February 2014 on behalf of members of the Association for Dietetics in South Africa (ADSA). Following a preliminary hearing last year, the HPCSA has decided to convene an inquiry into the conduct of Professor Tim Noakes. They will then rule on the matter.
The advice, via Twitter, is not considered to be in accordance with both international (WHO Guiding principles for complementary feeding of the breastfed child) and national (South African Paediatric Food Based Dietary Guidelines) feeding guidelines for infant and young child nutrition. Furthermore giving one on one nutrition advice on social media to a patient who has not been assessed, as well as providing information outside of the scope of practice for which you are registered with the council is in contravention of the HPCSA ethical guidelines.
“I look forward to a resolution of this matter that will provide clarity on complementary feeding recommendations for infants and young children. It should also set a precedent on how social media should be used by health professionals. Clarity on these issues will help to advance health care in South Africa in the interest of the public. It should also clear any public and professional confusion on these issues,” said Claire Julsing Strydom, President of the ADSA.