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Knowledge and use of evidence-based nutrition: a survey of paediatric dietitians

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Abstract Objective 

To survey paediatric dietitians’ knowledge and use of evidence-based nutrition (EBN). Design 

Cross-sectional survey using reply-paid questionnaires. Subjects 

Paediatric dietitians in Australian teaching hospitals. Main outcome measures 

Age, sex, appointment, clinical practice, research activities; attitudes to, training in and use of EBN; and perceived barriers to use of EBN. Statistical analysis 

Data were analysed using descriptive statistics (SPSS). Results 

Fifty-nine (86%) of 69 questionnaires were returned. Most (97%) dietitians were women working full-time (63%), mean age 37 years (±9 SD). Most (75%) dietitians encountered knowledge gaps less than five times per week and most (87%) questions related to therapy. The majority (95%) performed their own literature searches, less than five times per month. All had access to ≥1 electronic literature databases including Medline (n = 58, 98%), Cochrane Library (n = 44, 75%) and CINAHL (n = 35, 59%). Information sources used most often were Medline and consultation with colleagues. Reported barriers to using EBN were lack of time (n = 53, 90%) or lack of skills for critical appraisal of published articles (n = 51, 86%) or literature searching (n = 48, 81%). While 53 (90%) believed in an evidence-based approach, 43 (73%) either did not practise EBN or rated themselves as beginners. Conclusion 

Most dietitians favoured evidence-based practice, but reported lack of time, skills or rapid access to electronic databases as barriers to its practice.

Keywords: child; dietetics; evidence-based medicine; knowledge and practice; nutrition; questionnaire

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: 1: Royal Children's Hospital, Parkville, Vic. 2: Princess Margaret Hospital for Children, Perth, WA

Publication date: October 1, 2003


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