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J Prim Health Care. 2014 Jun 1;6(2):101-7.

Impact of an undergraduate course on medical students' self-perceived nutrition intake and self-efficacy to improve their health behaviours and counselling practices.

Author information

1
Faculty of Medical and Health Sciences, The University of Auckland, PB 92019, Auckland 1142, New Zealand. jcro057@aucklanduni.ac.nz.
2
Griffith Health Institute, Centre for Health Practice Innovation, Griffith University, Gold Coast, Australia.
3
School of Human Movement Studies, The University of Queensland, Brisbane, Australia.
4
Department of General Practice and Primary Health Care, Faculty of Medical and Health Sciences, The University of Auckland, Auckland, New Zealand.
5
Discipline of Nutrition, Faculty of Medical and Health Sciences, The University of Auckland, Auckland, New Zealand.

Abstract

INTRODUCTION:

Doctors are increasingly involved in the management of chronic disease and counsel patients about their lifestyle behaviours, including nutrition, to improve their health outcomes.

AIM:

This study aimed to assess the impact of a medical undergraduate course containing nutrition content on medical students' self-perceived nutrition intake and self-efficacy to improve their health behaviours and counselling practices.

METHODS:

A total of 239 medical students enrolled in a 12-week nutrition-related course at The University of Auckland were invited to complete an anonymous questionnaire before and after the course. The questionnaire was adapted from a previous evaluation of a preventive medicine and nutrition course at Harvard Medical School.

RESULTS:

Sixty-one medical students completed both pre- and post-course questionnaires (25.5%). At baseline, medical students described their eating habits to be more healthy than non-medical students (p=0.0261). Post-course, medical students reported a higher frequency of whole-grain food intake (p=0.0229). Medical students also reported being less comfortable making nutrition recommendations to family and friends post-course (p=0.008). Most medical students (63.9%) perceived increased awareness of their own dietary choices, and some (15.3%) reported an increased likelihood to counsel patients on lifestyle behaviour post-course.

DISCUSSION:

Students can increase awareness of their own nutrition behaviour after undertaking a course that includes nutrition in the initial phase of their medical degree. Further investigation of how medical students' confidence to provide nutrition advice evolves throughout their training and in future practice is required.

PMID:
24892126
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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