Training medical students in diet assessment and brief counseling

Emily A. Johnston, Jeannette M. Beasley, Melanie Jay

Research output: Contribution to journalComment/debatepeer-review


Poor dietary choices are a leading cause of chronic disease, but nutrition is rarely discussed in clinical practice. Nutrition is taught in less than a third of medical schools and physicians in practice empirically report low levels of comfort and self-efficacy in discussing nutrition with patients. A two-part presentation was created and shared with second-year medical students at a college of medicine. Students were given pre-work that included a brief (15 minutes) pre-recorded presentation and an e-resource entitled “Practical Nutrition for the Primary Care Provider” and then engaged in a live virtual session with a brief lecture and question and answer period (45 minutes). A survey was administered following the live presentation to evaluate the extent to which the presentation met the stated objectives and could impact participants’ future practice. One-hundred and six students participated in the live lecture. Eighty-eight students (83%) provided survey feedback. Over two-thirds of respondents indicated that the presentation completely met the objectives, 57% indicated that they would definitely talk to patients with chronic disease about nutrition, and 52% indicated they would incorporate diet assessment in visits with patients with chronic disease. Nutrition is integral to disease prevention and management. Many students provided com-ments on the importance of the topic and benefit of the information. Further research is necessary to determine the optimal time and place for nutrition education in medical training. This presentation and e-resource are evidence-based, brief, and provided tools for participants to access once in practice.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1337-1342
Number of pages6
JournalAdvances in Medical Education and Practice
StatePublished - 2021


  • Diet assessment
  • Nutrition
  • Undergraduate medical education
  • Virtual lesson

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education


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