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Coll Antropol. 2011 Sep;35(3):765-74.

Cancer and cardiovascular diseases nutrition knowledge and dietary intake of medical students.

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Teaching Institute of Public Health of Primorsko-Goranska County, Department of Health Ecology, Rijeka, Croatia.


The aims of this study were to determine medical students' knowledge regarding the association between dietary factors and the risk of cancer and cardiovascular diseases and to investigate if this knowledge has an impact on their dietary intakes. Three hundred and ninety medical students (males and females) were included in a study and grouped according to their daily fibre and fat intakes. For diet-disease knowledge, questions from the General Nutrition Knowledge Questionnaire for Adults were used and dietary assessment was done with Food Frequency Questionnaire. The obtained results showed that the students' diet-disease knowledge was generally inadequate. Higher level of diet-disease knowledge was among those with high dietary fibre intake, with slightly better scores for dietary factors and risk for cardiovascular diseases than the risk for cancer. Better diet-disease knowledge positively correlated with higher intake of fish (p = 0.027, p = 0.001) and vegetables (p = 0.019, p = 0.001) in high fibre groups of both gender, and in females additionally with fruit intake (p = 0.038, p = 0.007). A higher dietary fibre intake among studied students seems to be a factor that ensures lower obesity rates, lower intake of energy and lower consumption of coffee, sweets and alcoholic drinks. On the basis of the results of this study, it is clear that medical schools should provide in their nutrition programs the opportunity for students to learn about their own dietary and lifestyle behaviours, in order to more knowledgably and convincingly counsel their future patients.

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