16th International Congress of Dietetics, 2012

The International Congress of Dietetics (ICD 2012) marked the first time the high-profile, quadrennial event had been held in Australia in over thirty five years.

ICD is held every four years, offering the opportunity for dietitians to present their research, share experiences, explore new directions and debate topics with experts from around the world.

ICD 2012 marked the first time the high-profile event was held in Australia in over thirty five years.
The local host organisation Dietitians Association of Australia (DAA) is Australia’s peak nutrition body and professional member association representing around 4,800 dietitians and nutritionists, nutrition scientists, dietetics students, associate and affiliate members.

ICD 2012 covered topics spanning nutrition challenges for developing countries, international food policy, food security, childhood obesity and nutrition for an ageing population as well as the latest findings in nutrition research including eating for sun protection, omega-3 fats in pregnancy and the benefits of cereal fibre.

The congress was attended by over 2,200 professionals from 60 countries including 1,250 Australian delegates and over 300 students (largely from Australia and New Zealand).

Over 400 delegates had specific dietary needs and more than 100 were vegetarians. The congress venue, Sydney Convention and Exhibition Centre (The Centre) was able to cater for all delegate needs from its extensive compendium of over 500 individual dishes, providing fresh, healthy food which was enjoyed by delegates at the three lunches and a cocktail party held at the venue.

The congress was sponsored by Yakult,The Australian Mushroom Growers Association, The Egg Nutrition Council, Unilever, Kellogg’s, Nuts for Life, The International Nut and Dried Fruit Congress (INC), Anjinomoto, Meat and Livestock Australia (MLA), Australian Eggs Corporation Limited, Dairy Australia, Horticulture Australia Ltd, Chobani, Life’sARA and Vital Foods.

Many companies and national bodies including Swisse, Sanitarium Health & Wellbeing, Almond Board of Australia and The Grains and Legumes Nutrition Council exhibited at the congress and provided delegates with information, samples and taste tests.

ICD 2012 delegates were offered a range of optional tours of Sydney during their stay which included a bike tour of Manly, a BridgeClimb Sydney experience and a day in the Blue Mountains. Optional post-conference trips to the Northern Territory and the Great Barrier Reef were also offered.

ICD 2012 marked the first time the high-profile, quadrennial event had been held in Australia in over thirty five years.

The bidding journey for the event began in 2000 when a bid was submitted for ICD 2008. The 2008 congress was awarded to Japan, however, Australia’s strong bid resulted in an invitation by the ICD to submit an expression of interest to host the 2012 congress.

The successful bid, submitted in 2004, was led by the Executive Director of the Dietitians Association of Australia. The DAA is Australia’s peak nutrition body and the professional member association, representing around 4,800 dietitians and nutritionists, nutrition scientists, dietetics students and associate and affiliate members.

The bid cited Australia’s dietary issues and included Medicare’s decision to include the services of dietitians in its plan to combat the country’s obesity epidemic.

With assistance from Sydney and NSW’s convention bureau, Business Events Sydney (BESydney), the DAA secured the congress for Australia, with the two-day event held on 5-8 September 2012 at the Sydney Convention and Exhibition Centre (The Centre).

A dedicated project officer with an extensive understanding of event organisation and coordination was appointed by DAA to provide operational support for the congress and to ensure the planning process ran smoothly.

The congress, which was shaped around the theme ‘LEAP: Leadership, Evidence and Advancing Practice,’ attracted over 2,200 professionals from almost 60 countries including 1,250 Australian, many of which are industry leaders highly involved in the congress, and over 300 students.

The event created valuable opportunities for participants to present and share their experiences, explore new directions, discuss professional dilemmas and proactively set the international research and action agenda for the future.

The Centre was able to cater for all delegate needs (400 had specific dietary requirements and more than 100 were vegetarian) from its extensive compendium of over 500 individual dishes. Despite the diverse range of dietary requirements, all dishes were drawn from The Centre’s existing menu with the exception of a gluten-free pie created especially for the congress’ welcome drinks event. Delegates enjoyed fresh, healthy food at the three lunches and cocktail party which were held at the venue during the course of the congress, showcasing the creativity and flexibility of the venue’s food and beverage department.

DAA CEO Claire Hewat said the association was thrilled to welcome the world of dietetics, as well as several international leaders in the field, to Sydney for the congress.

“ICD 2012 was an innovative, progressive and dynamic event, set against one of the most beautiful backdrops in the world,” she said.

Ms Hewat said topics covered by the congress spanned nutrition challenges for developing countries, international food policy, food security, childhood obesity and nutrition for an ageing population and innovative findings in nutrition research including eating for sun protection, omega-3 fats in pregnancy and the benefits of cereal fibre.

The congress was sponsored by Yakult,The Australian Mushroom Growers Association, The Egg Nutrition Council, Unilever, Kellogg’s, Nuts for Life, The International Nut and Dried Fruit Congress (INC), Anjinomoto, Meat and Livestock Australia (MLA), Australian Eggs Corporation Limited, Dairy Australia, Horticulture Australia Ltd, Chobani, Life’sARA and Vital Foods.

Many companies and national bodies including Swisse, Sanitarium Health & Wellbeing, Almond Board of Australia and The Grains and Legumes Nutrition Council exhibited at the congress and provided delegates with information, samples and taste tests. Feedback from exhibitors was overwhelmingly positive, with many stating the event enabled then to build strong support for their national meeting as well as increase product awareness.

Post congress, BESydney commissioned the University of Technology Sydney (UTS) to conduct a survey of ICD 2012 delegates as part of the bureau’s Beyond Tourism Benefits study which was undertaken to examine the value of business events to the economy and to provide useful indicators for future marketing strategies to attract even more professional events to Sydney and Australia.

The research highlighted the broad benefits that business events deliver to industries, institutions, economies and communities.

Three quarters of respondents to the research survey agreed that conferences enhance the capacity of the professional sector in the conference destination. 67 per cent agreed that conferences bring new knowledge, techniques or materials to professional practice in the conference destination.

Additionally, ICD 2012 delegates stated that the congress’ large attendance and diverse program had enabled them to connect with other industry professionals from around the world. Many research collaborations and groups resulted from congress which continued long after the event.

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