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BRIEF COMMUNICATION
Year : 2019  |  Volume : 32  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 91-94

Future doctors' perspectives on health professionals' responsibility regarding nutrition care and why doctors should learn about nutrition: A qualitative study


1 Department of Health Professions Education and Innovative Learning, School of Medicine and Health Sciences, University for Development Studies, Tamale, Ghana; Department of Educational Research and Development, Faculty of Health, Medicine and Life Sciences, School of Health Professions Education, Maastricht University, Maastricht, The Netherlands
2 Department of Educational Research and Development, Faculty of Health, Medicine and Life Sciences, School of Health Professions Education, Maastricht University, Maastricht, The Netherlands
3 Department of Community Nutrition, School of Allied Health Sciences, University for Development Studies, Tamale, Ghana
4 Department of Health Professions Education and Innovative Learning, School of Medicine and Health Sciences, University for Development Studies, Tamale, Ghana

Correspondence Address:
Victor Mogre
Department of Health Professions Education and Innovative Learning, School of Medicine and Health Sciences, University for Development Studies, P. O. Box TL 1883, Tamale

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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None


DOI: 10.4103/efh.EfH_134_17

Background: Improved dietary and nutrition behavior may help reduce the occurrence of noncommunicable diseases which have become global public health emergencies in recent times. However, doctors do not readily provide nutrition counseling to their patients. We explored medical students' perspectives on health professionals' nutrition care responsibility, and why doctors should learn about nutrition and provide nutrition care in the general practice setting. Methods: Semistructured interviews were conducted among 23 undergraduate clinical level medical students (referred to as future doctors). All interviews were recorded and transcribed verbatim with data analysis following a comparative, coding, and thematic process. Results: Future doctors were of the view that all health professionals who come into contact with patients in the general practice setting are responsible for the provision of nutrition care to patients. Next to nutritionists/dieticians, future doctors felt doctors should be more concerned with the nutrition of their patients than any other health-care professionals in the general practice setting. Reasons why doctors should be more concerned about nutrition were as follows: patients having regular contacts with the doctor; doctors being the first point of contact; patients having more trust in the doctors' advice; helping to meet the holistic approach to patient care; and the fact that nutrition plays an important role in health outcomes of the patient. Discussion: Future doctors perceived all health professionals to be responsible for nutrition care and underscored the need for doctors to learn about nutrition and to be concerned about the nutrition of their patients.


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