Nutrition beyond drugs and devices: a review of the approaches to enhance the capacity of nutrition care provision by general practitioners

Aust J Prim Health. 2012;18(2):90-5. doi: 10.1071/PY11116.


The prevention and management of chronic disease is a key priority for primary care services. Nutrition-related care is an integral feature of several best practice guidelines for management of chronic disease in the general practice setting. This paper critically reviews the international literature to enhance the nutrition knowledge, skills and overall capacity of GPs to provide nutrition care using examples from nutrition in medical education, continuing medical education, GP-centred and practice-setting approaches. The medical nutrition education approach provides an opportunity for linear translation between desired nutrition competencies and curriculum learning objectives, while that of continuing medical education allows for tailored nutrition education to increase nutrition competencies once a learning need is identified. The GP-centred approach focuses on the determinants of nutrition care provision by GPs as strategies for enhancing nutrition care delivery, whereas the practice setting approach aims to increase the nutrition-related exposure to patients through avenues independent of the GP. In the Australian and New Zealand context, the potential appropriateness of these approaches requires judicious consideration, as it is unlikely that one approach will comprehensively address this topic. Ongoing multifaceted evaluation of each approach is needed to ensure enhancement of GPs' capacity to provide nutrition care by increasing nutrition knowledge and skills, and improving patient health outcomes.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Australia
  • Chronic Disease / prevention & control
  • Clinical Competence
  • Education, Medical, Continuing / methods
  • Family Practice / education
  • Family Practice / methods*
  • General Practitioners / education*
  • Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice*
  • Humans
  • New Zealand
  • Nutrition Assessment
  • Nutritional Physiological Phenomena*
  • Nutritional Sciences / education*
  • Patient Education as Topic / methods
  • Physician's Role
  • Practice Patterns, Physicians'*