How medical students' behaviors and attitudes affect the impact of a brief curriculum on nutrition counseling

J Nutr Educ Behav. 2012 Nov-Dec;44(6):653-7. doi: 10.1016/j.jneb.2011.08.006. Epub 2012 Mar 14.


Objective: To evaluate a nutrition curriculum and explore the influence of medical students' own nutrition practices on its impact.

Methods: An anonymous survey was given to first-year medical students attending a required course immediately prior to and 2 weeks after a 2-hour interactive nutrition curriculum intervention in a large private urban medical school in New York, New York. Main outcomes included self-reported nutrition counseling confidence, ability to assess diet, and nutrition knowledge measured using 4-point Likert scales.

Results: One hundred eleven students completed surveys pre-curriculum (69%) and 121 completed them post-curriculum (75%). The authors found overall pre-post differences in dietary assessment ability (2.65 vs 3.05, P < .001) and counseling confidence (1.86 vs 2.22, P < .001). In addition to the curricular impact, students' nutrition-related behaviors and attitudes were positively associated with outcomes.

Conclusions and implications: A nutrition curriculum for medical students improves students' nutrition counseling-related confidence, knowledge, and skills even when controlling for personal nutrition-related behaviors.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Attitude to Health*
  • Counseling
  • Curriculum*
  • Education, Medical, Undergraduate
  • Female
  • Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Nutrition Assessment
  • Nutritional Sciences / education*
  • Students, Medical / psychology*
  • Young Adult