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A survey of nutrition knowledge, practice, attitudes and behaviour of general practitioner trainees in Ireland

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Background: Medical research has acknowledged the relationship between nutrition and the development of chronic diseases, as well as the interaction between disease and nutritional status. However, nutrition education in the medical curriculum has been far from adequate. The present study was undertaken to examine the current status of nutrition awareness amongst general practitioner trainees throughout Ireland.Methods: A self-administered questionnaire (Q1) was used to assess the nutrition knowledge, attitudes, practice and behaviour of one hundred final year general practitioner trainees. A second questionnaire (Q2) was sent to the relevant medical faculties to ascertain the level of nutrition taught within the medical curricula.Results: The overall response rate to Q1 was 52% (34 females, 18 males). Respondents showed little awareness that nutrition had been included in their medical training. Q2 verified that nutrition mostly featured in the biochemistry component of the medical curricula. The results indicate the need to improve basic nutritional knowledge and its application in clinical practice. The disparity between the perceived importance of nutrition and personal lifestyle behaviours concurred with other studies.Conclusion: The general practitioner trainees were ill equipped to appreciate and value the extent of dietetic intervention for nutrition-related problems in clinical practice.

Keywords: clinical practice; general practitioner trainees; medical curriculum; nutrition

Document Type: Original Article


Affiliations: 1: Department of Nutrition and Dietetics, Causeway Health & Social Services Trust, Ballycastle, Co. Antrim, UK, 2: School of Biomedical Sciences, University of Ulster at Coleraine, Coleraine, Co. Londonderry, UK

Publication date: January 1, 1997


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