Doctors should receive more nutritional training, says review

doctor nutrition medical training
09/05/2018 - 07:00
Medical students in Britain do not feel their knowledge of nutrition and public health is enough to meet the demands on doctors today, according to a study.

Writing in Public Health Nutrition, the journal of The Nutrition Society, Jonathan Broad and Megan Wallace tested the idea by running a six-week course on public health nutrition that students could choose to take.

“The students were not confident in nutrition competencies before and were taught less than European counterparts.

“Afterwards students said they had enjoyed the course, had improved their knowledge, and felt more confident in interviewing and prescribing supplements.”

The pair reviewed literature about nutrition education in medical schools and set up a six-week elective course in public health nutrition for medical students.

They drew up a list of suggested competencies in nutrition and compared students' confidence and knowledge before and after.

The elective course covered advocacy, motivational interviewing, supplements, nutritional deficits, parenteral nutrition and obesity services and attracted 15 final year students.

It called on expertise of dietitians, managers and pharmacists, as well as involving 60 students from a local school in a public health activity.

Broad and Wallace conclude: “The present commentary responds to a gap in UK medical students' understanding of nutrition and public health and suggests ways to improve it.”

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