Postsecondary Public Health Nutrition Programs in Egypt: An Educational Gap Within the Allied Health Profession?

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Abstract

Background. Escalating obesity rates have become a major public health problem in Egypt. To address this concern, the education and training of a competent and culturally relevant public health nutrition (PHN) workforce is necessary. The aim of this study is to list and identify current PHN education and training programs offered in Egyptian colleges and universities. Method. An electronic review of websites, departmental homepages, and academic program web links of selected colleges and universities in Egypt (N = 63) was conducted to identify available training and education in PHN and nutrition-affiliated academic programs. Results. Of the 63 identified Egyptian colleges and universities, two universities, both located in Alexandria, offered education and training degrees in PHN, and 16 were identified as offering non-PHN degree programs, predominantly in home economics. Conclusions. The relative scarcity of PHN training programs in colleges and universities in Egypt coupled with the lack of nationally recognized professional nutrition associations as well as a regulatory standard by which to define the nutrition profession appears to be a gap within the allied health profession in Egypt. Greater cooperation between colleges and universities in Egypt and international collaboration with other colleges and universities outside Egypt may help facilitate the development of academic PHN programs in Egyptian higher education. This would serve the dual purpose of addressing the obesity prevalence and developing a sustainable congruent allied health workforce capacity that includes culturally relevant and competent public health dietitians/nutritionists for effective PHN action operating in Egypt.

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