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University Education in Human Nutrition: The Italian Experience-A Position Paper of the Italian Society of Human Nutrition
As a broad range of professionals in clinical and nonclinical settings requires some expertise in human nutrition, the university system must offer academic courses tailored to these different specific needs. In the Italian university system there is still uncertainty with regard to the learning objectives regarding human nutrition. In the ministerial decrees defining the criteria for establishing university courses, the indications about education in human nutrition are rather inconsistent, sometimes detailed, but often just mentioned or even only implied. Education in human nutrition requires both an appropriate duration (number of university credits included in the degree format for different disciplines) and course units that are designed in order to achieve specific expertise. The university system should appropriately design and distinguish the nutritional competencies of the different types of graduates. Physiology and biochemistry are the academic disciplines mostly involved in teaching fundamentals of human nutrition, while the discipline sciences of applied nutrition and dietetics more strictly focuses on applied nutrition and clinical nutrition. Other academic disciplines that may contribute to education in human nutrition, depending on the type of degree, are internal medicine (and its subspecialties), hygiene, endocrinology, food technologies, food chemistry, commodity science, and so forth.
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