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Open Access Highly Accessed Research

Nutrition education: a questionnaire for assessment and teaching

Mary Makowske and Richard D Feinman*

Author Affiliations

Department of Biochemistry. State University of New York Downstate Medical Center. Brooklyn, NY 11203 USA

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Nutrition Journal 2005, 4:2  doi:10.1186/1475-2891-4-2

Published: 13 January 2005

Abstract

It is generally recognized that there is a need for improved teaching of nutrition in medical schools and for increased education of the general population. A questionnaire, derived in part from a study of physician knowledge, was administered to first year medical students in order to assess their knowledge of various aspects of nutrition and metabolism, and as a teaching tool to transmit information about the subject. The performance of first year students was consistent with a generally educated population but there were surprising deficits in some fundamental areas of nutrition. Results of the questionnaire are informative about student knowledge, and immediate reinforcement from a questionnaire may provide a useful teaching tool. In addition, some of the subject matter can serve as a springboard for discussion of critical issues in nutrition such as obesity and markers for cardiovascular disease. A major barrier to improved teaching of nutrition is the lack of agreement on some of these critical issues and there are apparent inconsistencies in recommendations of government and health agencies. It seems reasonable that improved teaching should address the lack of knowledge of nutrition, rather than knowledge of official guidelines. Student awareness of factual information should be the primary goal.