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New Zealand Medical Students Have Positive Attitudes and Moderate Confidence in Providing Nutrition Care:A Cross-Sectional Survey
Throughout the world, medical students and doctors report inadequate nutrition education and subsequently lack of knowledge, attitude, and skills to include nutrition in patient care. This study described New Zealand's students' attitudes to and self-perceived skills in providing nutrition care in practice as well as perceived quantity and quality of nutrition education received in training. 183 medical students from New Zealand's largest medical school (response rate 52%) completed a 65-item questionnaire, partially validated, using 5-point Likert scales. Students believed incorporating nutrition care into practice is important, yet they were less confident patients improve nutrition behaviours after receiving this care. Students were confident in skills related to nutrition in health and disease but less confident in skills related to general food knowledge. Greater quantity and quality of nutrition education received was associated with greater self-perceived skills in providing nutrition care to patients but not with attitudes towards incorporating nutrition care into practice. This cohort of New Zealand medical students places similarly high importance on nutrition care as students and doctors from other countries. Further investigations beyond graduation are required to inform whether additional nutrition education is warranted for these doctors.
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