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Medical Students Not Ready to Provide Nutritional Care

Findings consistent regardless of country of training, year of medical education

THURSDAY, Sept. 19, 2019 (HealthDay News) — Medical education does not equip students to provide high-quality, effective nutrition care, according to a review published in the September issue of The Lancet Planetary Health.

Jennifer Crowley, Ph.D., from the University of Auckland in New Zealand, and colleagues conducted a systematic literature search to identify articles assessing medical students’ nutrition knowledge, skills, and confidence to counsel patients.

The researchers identified 24 eligible studies (16 quantitative studies, three qualitative studies, and five curriculum initiatives). Studies were from the United States (11 studies), Europe (four), the Middle East (one), Africa (one), and Australasia (seven). Analysis revealed that nutrition is insufficiently incorporated into medical education, regardless of country, setting, or year of medical education. These deficits in nutrition education impact students’ knowledge, skills, and confidence to implement nutrition care into patient care. Curriculum initiatives had a modest positive effect.

“Medical education can be enhanced by institutional commitment to make nutrition education compulsory in medical training, establishment of nutrition competencies to provide a benchmark for nutrition knowledge and skills to be included in curricula, and [support from] funding for innovative curriculum initiatives,” the authors write.

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