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Research Suggests Nutrition Education Needed for All Health Professionals to Better Support Public Health

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All health professionals should study nutrition education curricula while in school to better support public health, a new paper suggests.

Nutrition researchers at Aston University, in collaboration with colleagues from other universities and leading nutrition groups, worked with the Association of Nutrition (AfN) to help develop a curriculum that could be rolled out to all undergraduate students. Medical Professional Course.

co-authored paper British Journal for Nutrition And BMJ Nutrition, Prevention and Health recommends considering developing a new curriculum for undergraduates and then rolling it out nationally with a view to implementing it in other health care courses. did.

The AfN Nutrition Undergraduate Curriculum for Physicians is designed to be presented to medical students as an integral part of their general undergraduate training and to show how nutrition is interrelated with the study of other systems. clarify and contribute to a comprehensive understanding of health and disease. .

Today, lifestyle-related health issues ranging from obesity to hypertension, type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and some cancers can all be diet-related across our community. In hospitals, on the other hand, about one-third of the patients who come to hospitals may be malnourished.

Nutrition and diet play an important role in maintaining our health and managing disease. As such, educating prospective physicians and other health care professionals about the role of nutrition in patient care is essential. “

Duane Mellor, PhD, Clinical Dietitian, Senior Lecturer, Aston Medical School, Aston University, Co-Author

This paper shows not only the needs and gaps in nutrition education, but how it can be included as part of an already very busy and content-heavy curriculum. based on areas of the curriculum that can even be used for nutrition.

This highlights that historically medical education, like that of many health professionals who do not specialize in nutrition, often teaches only a few hours on the subject.

Dr. Glennis Jones, deputy chief executive officer of the Nutrition Society, who led the curriculum development project and co-authored the recent paper, said: Our future medical and healthcare professionals are empowered to identify when nutrition is relevant to a patient’s condition and make this part of their care.

“The curriculum is not meant to make a doctor into a dietician or dietitian, but to think about whether nutrition can play a role and to have the confidence and knowledge of who, when and how to refer. It is intended to equip physicians with knowledge and skills, and if this is what you need, leave it to the experts in proper nutrition.”

Aston University is a pioneer in key areas of nutrition education for future healthcare professionals. As one of the few UK universities to have a nutritionist or nutritionist as part of their teaching team within a medical school, these skills are now being developed to help train other health professionals.

Dr. Mellor added:

“It is great to be able to highlight how nutrition is linked to basic scientific disciplines such as biochemistry, and how clinical skills can make patients think about changing their diet.

Aston University has also started working with the Nutrition Society to explore the potential need for nutrition education in other professions. This has led to the development of Core His Curriculum Outlines on Nutrition for various health professionals.

Dr. Mellor also plans to work with colleagues to further develop nutrition education at Aston University, so that students in fields such as optometry and pharmacy can learn more about nutrition and how it applies to their field of specialization. We help you better understand how it affects you.


Journal reference:

Jones, G. and others. (2022) Putting Nutrition Education on the Table: Developing a Curriculum to Meet the Needs of Future Physicians. BMJ nutrition, prevention and health.