Disparity in general nutrition knowledge among students of Food and Nutritional Sciences, graduates and experienced dieticians

  1. Sara Sanz Rojo 1
  2. Elena Garicano Vilar 1
  3. Ismael San Mauro Martín 1
  1. 1 Research Centres in Nutrition and Health. Spain
Journal:
Journal of Negative and No Positive Results: JONNPR

ISSN: 2529-850X

Year of publication: 2020

Volume: 5

Issue: 1

Pages: 61-80

Type: Article

DOI: 10.19230/JONNPR.3284 DIALNET GOOGLE SCHOLAR lock_openOpen access editor

More publications in: Journal of Negative and No Positive Results: JONNPR

Abstract

Background. Applying nutrition knowledge and skills to all aspects of health care are extremely important. The quantity and quality of formalized nutrition education is shrinking in curricula of health professions. Objective. To describe the level of general nutrition knowledge in students enrolled in the B.Sc. degree in Human Nutrition and Dietetics in Spain and already graduated dieticians, and compare knowledge status across different occupations. The secondary aim was to investigate the variation in knowledge among the cohort according to academic year, years of experience and area of expertise. Methods. Food and Nutritional Sciences students, dieticians and other health professionals in Spain were invited to participate in an online survey in 2018. The questionnaire comprised 7 relevant sociodemographic  questions and 16 items related to personal beliefs and dietary aspects, eating recommendations, degrees of  evidence and studies funding. Subjects were divided into different groups for analysis, according to  discipline, academic year, years of experience and area of expertise. Results. 364 subjects participated in the study. Overall, dieticians suggested there is no ideal distribution of  macronutrients along the day, Harvard plate is the guide with the greatest scientific support for the Spanish  population and agreed on meta-analysis of randomized clinical trials to be the study type with the greatest  degree of evidence.44.5% of dieticians asserted that studies financed by the industry have no credibility or reliability and he most experienced ones (>20 years’ experience) agreed that pharmaceutical industry and food industry with high  conflict of interest were the source of funding of high impact studies. On the other hand, students believed  university contributes an outdated knowledge in the majority of the content. Freshmen and sophomore  students supported eating 4-5 times/day, while juniors and seniors would personalize the recommendation  depending on the patient. Conclusion. The general nutrition knowledge level appeared to be disparate between students and practicing dieticians. Overall knowledge was influenced by discipline, academic year and area of expertise. Strategies to fill the gaps in nutrition education are needed.   

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