Future doctors' perceptions about incorporating nutrition into standard care practice Academic Article uri icon


  • The increasing prevalence of chronic disease has been largely attributed to long-term poor nutrition and lifestyle choices. This study investigates the attitudes of our future physicians toward nutrition and the likelihood of incorporating nutrition principles into current treatment protocols.Setting: The setting of this study was an Australian university medical school.Subjects including year 1-4 students (n = 928) in a 4-year medical bachelor, bachelor of surgery (MBBS) degree program. Students were invited to participate in a questionnaire based on an existing instrument, the Nutrition in Patient Care Attitude (NIPC) Questionnaire, to investigate their attitudes toward nutrition in health care practices.Respondents indicated that "high risk patients should be routinely counseled on nutrition" (87%), "nutrition counseling should be routine practice" (70%), and "routine nutritional assessment and counseling should occur in general practice" (57%). However, despite overall student support of nutritional counseling (70%) and assessment (86%), students were reluctant to perform actual dietary assessments, with only 38% indicating that asking for a food diary or other measure of dietary intake was important.These findings demonstrate that future physicians are aware of the importance of considering nutrition counseling and assessment. However, students are unlikely to adequately integrate relevant nutritional information into their treatment protocols, evidenced by their limited use of a basic nutritional assessment. This is potentially the result of a lack of formal nutrition education within their basic training.

publication date

  • 2017