What Do Physician Assistant Students Know About Nutrition? A Survey of Attitudes, Self-Perceived Proficiency, and Knowledge During Three Stages of Physician Assistant Education

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Abstract

Purpose

This study applied a cross-sectional design and analyzed the nutrition knowledge and attitudes of physician assistant (PA) students during 3 stages of PA education.

Methods

The PA students from the class of 2014, 2015, and 2016 attending a midwestern university were surveyed using Qualtrics. Descriptive statistics and analysis of variance tests were performed to determine the difference between the 3 cohorts on “previous nutrition knowledge,” “attitudes,” and “knowledge” subscores and total scores. A post hoc analysis was performed to determine the differences between groups.

Results

A statistically significant difference was found in the mean total score between classes, with the class of 2014 scoring 17 points higher on average than the class of 2016.

Conclusion

These results suggest that positive nutrition attitudes and knowledge among PA students from this sample were lacking. This study suggests a possible need for revision of nutrition education provided by PA programs.

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