Survey Examines Nutrition-Related Behavior Changes by Medical Professionals



JAMA Internal Medicine Study Highlights

Survey Examines Nutrition-Related Behavior Changes by Medical Professionals


In a research letter, David M. Eisenberg, M.D., of Harvard Medical School and the Harvard School of Public Health, Boston, and colleagues note that health care professionals, including physicians, self-reported positive changes in nutrition-related behaviors after a conference that included both didactic and hands-on cooking sessions and workshops. (Online First)


Of 387 registrants, 219 (57 percent) completed the survey at baseline and 192 (50 percent) completed the follow-up 12 weeks later. A total of 265 (66 percent) of the registrants were physicians, according to the results.


The results show that respondents reported significant positive changes in frequency of cooking their own meals (pretest, 58 percent; post-test 74 percent); personal awareness of calorie consumption (pretest 54 percent; post-test 64 percent); frequency of vegetable consumption (pretest 69 percent; post-test 85 percent); nut consumption (pretest 53 percent; post-test 63 percent) and whole grain consumption (pretest 67 percent, post-test 84 percent); ability to assess a patient’s nutrition status (pretest 46 percent; post-test 81 percent); and ability to successfully advise overweight or obese patients regarding nutritional and lifestyle habits (pretest 40 percent; post-test 81 percent).


“Many health care professionals aspire to advise their patients about dietary habits and to serve as role models. However, they, like the patients they serve, often lack the knowledge and practical experience to proactively advise their patients. Many medical students and physicians feel ill-equipped to counsel overweight or obese patients,” the authors conclude. “As such, we need enhanced educational efforts aimed at translating decades of nutrition science into practical strategies whereby healthy, affordable, easily prepared and delicious foods become the predominant elements of a person’s dietary lifestyle.”

(JAMA Intern Med. Published online February 18, 2013. doi:10.1001/jamainternmed.2013.2517. Available pre-embargo to the media at


Editor’s Note: This study was made possible, in part, by an unrestricted academic grant from the Bernard Osher Foundation. Please see article for additional information, including other authors, author contributions and affiliations, financial disclosures, funding and support, etc.

#  #  #

For more information, contact JAMA Network Media Relations at 312-464-JAMA (5262) or email