How Much do Gastroenterology Fellows Know About Nutrition?

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BackgroundMany people are afflicted with chronic diseases, in which nutrition plays a key role. The need for greater nutrition training among physicians, particularly gastroenterologists, is becoming increasingly evident.ObjectivesTo determine the nutritional knowledge and perceived nutrition knowledge of gastroenterology fellows.MethodsThirty-two gastrointestinal (GI) fellows currently enrolled in a GI fellowship program completed a needs assessment evaluating perceived nutrition knowledge and interest in the areas of nutrition support, assessment, obesity, micro/macronutrients, and nutrition in GI diseases. Additionally, an examination evaluating nutrition knowledge specific to gastroenterology fellows was administered.ResultsThirty-two GI fellows completed the needs assessment. Cronbach α of the needs assessment instrument was 0.72, indicating satisfactory internal consistency reliability. GI fellows perceived themselves to have the least knowledge in obesity and micro/macronutrients. They indicated a perceived greater knowledge base in nutrition assessment. The mean total test score was 50.04% (SD=7.84%). Fellows had the highest score in the subscale of nutrition assessment (80.64%; SD=19.05%), which was significantly higher than scores obtained in nutrition support (49.45%; SD=11.98%; P<0.05), micro/macronutrients (37.84%; SD=16.94%; P<0.05), obesity (40.11%; SD=20.00%; P<0.05), and nutrition in GI diseases (65.05%; SD=22.09%; P<0.05). A backward linear regression including hours of nutrition education received during GI fellowship, hours of nutrition education received during medical school, and year of GI fellowship accounted for 22.7% of the variance in test performance (multiple R=0.477).ConclusionsGastroenterology fellows think their knowledge of nutrition is suboptimal; objective evaluation of nutrition knowledge in this cohort confirmed this belief. A formal component of nutrition education could be developed in the context of GI fellowship education and continuing medical education as necessary.

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