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Culinary nutrition course equips future physicians to educate patients on a healthy diet: an interventional pilot study.
BMC medical education
2021; 21 (1): 280
BACKGROUND: Poor-quality diet is associated with one in five deaths globally. In the United States, it is the leading cause of death, representing a bigger risk factor than even smoking. For many, education on a healthy diet comes from their physician. However, as few as 25% of medical schools currently offer a dedicated nutrition course. We hypothesized that an active learning, culinary nutrition experience for medical students would improve the quality of their diets and better equip them to counsel future patients on food and nutrition.METHODS: This was a prospective, interventional, uncontrolled, non-randomized, pilot study. Ten first-year medical students at the Wayne State University School of Medicine completed a 4-part, 8-h course in culinary-nutritional instruction and hands-on cooking. Online assessment surveys were completed immediately prior to, immediately following, and 2months after the intervention. There was a 100% retention rate and 98.8% item-completion rate on the questionnaires. The primary outcome was changes in attitudes regarding counselling patients on a healthy diet. Secondary outcomes included changes in dietary habits and acquisition of culinary knowledge. Average within-person change between timepoints was determined using ordinary least squares fixed-effect models. Statistical significance was defined as P≤.05.RESULTS: Participants felt better prepared to counsel patients on a healthy diet immediately post-intervention (coefficient=2.8; 95% confidence interval: 1.6 to 4.0 points; P<.001) and 2months later (2.2 [1.0, 3.4]; P=.002). Scores on the objective test of culinary knowledge increased immediately after (3.6 [2.4, 4.9]; P<.001) and 2months after (1.6 [0.4, 2.9]; P=.01) the intervention. Two months post-intervention, participants reported that a higher percentage of their meals were homemade compared to pre-intervention (13.7 [2.1, 25.3]; P=.02).CONCLUSIONS: An experiential culinary nutrition course may improve medical students' readiness to provide dietary counselling. Further research will be necessary to determine what effects such interventions may have on the quality of participants' own diets.
View details for DOI 10.1186/s12909-021-02702-y
View details for PubMedID 34001085