Perceptions of nutrition education in the current medical school curriculum

Robin L. Danek, Kathryn L. Berlin, Gabi N. Waite, Roy W. Geib

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

10 Scopus citations


BACKGROUND AND OBJECTIVES: Although the National Academy of Sciences has recommended a minimum of 25 hours of nutrition education, the majority of medical schools offer very little to no training or education in nutrition to medical students during their tenure in medical school. In order to assess the relevance and efficacy of current levels of nutrition training as viewed by students, residents, and physicians, as well as possible areas for further improvement, the authors conducted a qualitative study exploring students’ experiences. METHODS: Medical students, residents, and physicians at a Midwestern medical school were interviewed during a series of eight focus groups and oneon- one interviews. Results were coded and analyzed using NVivo qualitative software for emerging themes. RESULTS: Medical students felt nutrition was poorly integrated into the curriculum. They witnessed little nutrition counseling during shadowing experiences, and the nutrition information that was imparted was often outdated or incorrect. Residents stated they felt ill-prepared to offer nutrition counseling and desired further education in this area. CONCLUSIONS: Overall, medical students and physicians agreed that the nutrition education currently provided in medical school is inadequate. Residents stated they would benefit from further training in behavioral counseling in order to increase their confidence in educating patients about nutrition. Increasing training in these areas could translate into improved health outcomes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)803-806
Number of pages4
JournalFamily medicine
Issue number10
StatePublished - Nov 1 2017

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Family Practice

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