“Medical education can be enhanced by institutional commitment to make nutrition education compulsory in medical training, establishment of nutrition competencies to provide a benchmark for nutrition knowledge and skills to be included in curricula, and supported by funding for innovative curriculum initiatives,” the analysis stated. “These initiatives will improve nutrition in medical training to support future doctors for the 21st century.”
For this review, authors searched literature between May 1 and July 1, 2018, for articles on medical students' nutrition knowledge, skills, and confidence to counsel patients, from Nov 1, 2012, to Dec 31, 2018.
Researchers included studies that examined any aspect of recently graduated (ie, ≤4 years) or current medical students' nutrition knowledge, attitudes, skills, or confidence (or all three) in nutrition or nutrition counseling; evaluated nutrition curriculum initiatives for medical students; or assessed recently graduated or current medical students' perceptions of nutrition education.
Researcher identified 66 studies; 24 were eligible for full-text analysis. Sixteen quantitative studies, three qualitative studies, and five curriculum initiatives from the U.S. (n=11), Europe (n=4), the Middle East (n=1), Africa (n=1), and Australasia (n=7) met the inclusion criteria.
Analysis of the studies showed that “nutrition is insufficiently incorporated into medical education, regardless of country, setting, or year of medical education,” researchers noted. “Deficits in nutrition education affect students' knowledge, skills, and confidence to implement nutrition care into patient care.”