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Hands-On Cooking Education Aids Docs' Nutrition Knowledge

After educational workshop physicians felt better able to give patients nutrition advice too

FRIDAY, Feb. 22 (HealthDay News) -- Continuing education that includes didactic and hands-on cooking sessions improves physicians' self-reported nutrition-related behaviors, according to a research letter published online Feb. 18 in JAMA Internal Medicine.

David M. Eisenberg, M.D., from Harvard Medical School in Boston, and colleagues conducted an anonymous survey of registrants' at the Healthy Kitchens, Healthy Lives-Caring for Our Patients and Ourselves continuing education conference to assess self-reported nutrition-related behaviors prior to the conference (March 2010) and 12 weeks later.

The researchers found that, of the 219 respondents at baseline and 192 respondents at follow-up, a significant number reported positive changes in frequency of cooking their own meals (pre, 58 percent; post, 74 percent); personal awareness of calorie consumption (pre, 54 percent; post, 64 percent); and frequency of vegetable (pre, 69 percent; post, 85 percent), nut (pre, 53 percent; post, 63 percent), and whole grain consumption (pre, 67 percent; post, 84 percent). As it relates to the patients, respondents reported a significantly improved ability to assess a patient's nutrition status (pre, 46 percent; post, 81 percent) and ability to successfully advise overweight or obese patients regarding nutritional and lifestyle habits (pre, 40 percent; post, 81 percent). There were significant, modest correlations between clinicians' self-reported diet quality at three-month follow-up and their ability to advise overweight and obese patients on nutrition and lifestyle changes (correlations, 0.35 to 0.44).

"Perhaps in this era of scientific advancement regarding nutrition science, it is now time to 'teach the teachers' ways to access, prepare, and enjoy healthy, delicious foods, so that they, in turn, can advise their patients to do the same," the authors write.

Several authors disclosed financial ties to the culinary industry.

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