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Open Access Open Badges Research

Inadequate physician knowledge of the effects of diet on blood lipids and lipoproteins.

Mary Flynn12, Christopher Sciamanna123* and Kevin Vigilante12

Author Affiliations

1 Brown University, Providence, Rhode Island, USA

2 The Miriam Hospital, Providence, Rhode Island, USA

3 Brown University, Department of Community Health, 1 Hoppin Street, CORO West, Suite 500, Providence, RI 02903 USA

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Nutrition Journal 2003, 2:19  doi:10.1186/1475-2891-2-19

Published: 1 December 2003



To assess the nutrition knowledge of physicians on the basic effects of diet on blood lipids and lipoproteins.


Anonymous mailed dietary knowledge surveys to 6000 randomly selected physicians in the United States licensed in either Internal Medicine or Cardiology.


Response rate: 16% (n = 639). Half of the physicians did not know that canola oil and 26% did not know olive oil were good sources of monounsaturated fat. Ninety-three percent (84% of cardiologists vs. 96% of internists; p < 0.001) did not know that a low-fat diet, in general, would increase blood triglycerides. Approximately three-quarters (70% of cardiologists vs. 77% of internists; p < 0.01) did not know a low-fat diet would decrease HDL-c and almost half (45%) thought that a low-fat diet would not change HDL-c.


If physicians are to implement dietary and cholesterol management guidelines, they will likely need to become more knowledgeable about nutrition.