Web-Based Workshop: Nutrition and Obesity Education Tools and Resources for Medical Students

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Terhune, Tamren
Web-Based Workshop; Nutrition; Obesity; Medical Students; Nutrition Attitudes; Perceived Self-Efficacy; Knowledge
thesis / dissertation description
Lack of nutrition education is one of the most common barriers reported by physicians to discussing nutrition and obesity-related chronic health conditions and giving dietary and weight-loss guidance to their patients. Challenges with integrating nutrition education into medical school curriculums have been addressed by utilizing web-based learning opportunities. A web-based workshop (WBW), providing nutrition and obesity education tools and resources, was developed and pilot-tested to 1st through 4th-year medical students. A focus group provided valuable feedback on the WBW for revisions prior to the pilot test. A pretest survey and posttest evaluation survey were developed to assess prior nutrition training, evaluate changes in nutrition attitudes, perceived self-efficacy, and nutrition and obesity knowledge after accessing the WBW, and to evaluate the content and value of the WBW. Paired sample t-tests were performed to evaluate these changes, and descriptive and qualitative analyses were used to evaluate survey and focus group results. Subsequent recommendations for the next phase of the WBW were noted. Fewer than 50% of medical student pretest survey respondents reported ever having received prior nutrition training before accessing the WBW. Although a statistically significant change in nutrition attitudes, perceived self-efficacy or nutrition and obesity knowledge was not observed in our study, 11 respondents (100%) agreed that the WBW enhanced their knowledge of nutrition and its role in prevention and treatment of obesity and chronic disease, 7 thought the WBW was applicable to medical students (63.6%), and 8 would recommend it to their peers (72.7%). A WBW was successfully created and administered to TAMHSC COM students. It was designed to serve as a clinically applicable nutrition and obesity resource in medical school curricula that would enhance nutrition attitudes, perceived self-efficacy, and nutrition and obesity knowledge. Since the WBW developed represented an initial pilot phase of a planned multi-year endeavor, future research will likely address not only content issues, but also WBW participation, survey respondent rates, and will seek revisions to enhance the WBW for possible future applications.