Metabolic diseases and cardiovascular disease (CVD), the incidence of which is currently increasing in Korea, can be managed well with dietary education and modification. However, it has yet to be established whether nurses have sufficient knowledge to impart appropriate nutritional counseling to patients with these diseases. Our study involved 506 nurses working at Asan Medical Center, Samsung Medical Center, and Seoul National University Hospital between March and May, 2006. The questionnaire was comprised of 42 diet-related questions pertaining to diabetes, obesity, and CVD. Nurses' correct-response rate for overall nutritional knowledge was worse than reported in Western countries (58.4%), and particularly so with regard to obesity and CVD. Although many nurses were aware of the therapeutic aspects of nutrients in relation to CVD, most of them had limited knowledge about low-cholesterol diets and sources of water-soluble fiber, fatty acids and the specific food items that prevent CVD. Our results suggest that there is an urgent need to update the contents of nutrition education for nurses to reflect the current changes in the Korean diet and the increasing incidence of metabolic diseases and CVD.
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