Survey of nutrition knowledge of Canadian physicians

J Am Coll Nutr. 1999 Feb;18(1):26-9. doi: 10.1080/07315724.1999.10718823.


Objectives: Previous reports have indicated that physicians generally have little training in nutrition and a poor knowledge of the subject. A survey was carried out to determine the nutrition knowledge of physicians working in general practice.

Methods: A questionnaire with multiple-choice questions was mailed to 248 physicians working in Alberta, Canada, mainly in Edmonton and Calgary. Non-respondents received a second questionnaire and a phone call.

Results: Completed questionnaires were received from 36.1% (84 of 233 eligible physicians). The average correct response was 63.1%. The results indicate that physicians are generally aware of information which has been publicized in the medical press: which nutrients are antioxidants; the nutrient associated with the prevention of neural tube defects (folate); the preventive action of fruit and vegetables against cancer; the energy value of fat (9 kcals/g); and the recommended fat intake (under 30% of energy). By contrast they have a poor knowledge of other important topics in nutrition: the typical salt intake of Canadians; the association between excess protein intake and calcium loss; the type of dietary fiber helpful in lowering the blood cholesterol level (soluble fiber); and the nutrient which helps prevent thrombosis (omega-3 fat).

Conclusions: These results support other data that physicians need more training in nutrition.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Canada
  • Data Collection
  • Family Practice*
  • Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice*
  • Humans
  • Nutritional Sciences* / education
  • Surveys and Questionnaires