Integrating nutrition education into the cardiovascular curriculum changes eating habits of second-year medical students

Eric J. Vargas, Robert Zelis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations

Abstract

Background Survey of medical curricula continues to show that nutrition education is not universally adequate. One measure of nutritional educational competence is a positive change in student eating habits. Objective The objective of this study was to evaluate whether integrating nutrition education within the second-year cardiovascular course for medical students, using the "Rate Your Plate" (RYP) questionnaire, coupled with knowledge of student personal 30-year risk of a cardiovascular event was useful in changing students' eating behaviors. Methods Thirty-two students completed an unpublished 24-item questionnaire (modified-RYP) about their eating habits in the spring of their first year. The same students then completed the questionnaire in the spring of their second year. Paired t test was used to analyze the difference in RYP scores. Pearson correlation coefficients were calculated for the Framingham 30-year cardiovascular event risk and change in RYP score to examine whether risk knowledge may have changed eating habits. Results Mean scores at baseline and 1 year later were 57.19 and 58.97, respectively (paired t test, P <.01). Correlation coefficient between 30-year relative risk, adjusted for family history, and change in RYP score was -0.322. Conclusion Although medical students were eating healthy at baseline, integration of nutrition education within the second-year cardiovascular medical curriculum was associated with improved heart healthy eating habits. Because student attitudes about prevention counseling are influenced by personal eating habits, this suggests that students with a more healthy diet will be more likely to recommend the same for their patients.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)199-205
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Clinical Lipidology
Volume8
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1 2014

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Internal Medicine
  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Nutrition and Dietetics
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine

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