Publications & Reports

'What do doctors think they need to know about nutrition?'-a qualitative study of doctors with formal nutrition training.

Caldow G, Palermo C, Wilson AN


Background: Doctors are on the frontline of patient care and in an ideal position to provide nutritional advice, yet can feel ill-equipped to do so. The aim of this study was to explore the nutrition knowledge, skills and practice required for nutrition-competent medical graduates, and their role in providing nutrition advice and care, from the perspective of doctors with formal nutrition training.

Methodology: We conducted an exploratory qualitative research study. A purposive sample of 12 medical doctors and students with formal nutrition training across Australia participated in in-depth semi structured interviews. Data were analysed thematically.

Results: There were four main themes identified: 1. Identifying the role of doctors in nutrition care; 2. Understanding the interrelatedness of the social determinants of health and nutrition status is key; 3. Optimising nutrition care through multidisciplinary collaboration; and 4. Providing evidence-based nutrition care.

Conclusion: This exploratory study suggests that doctors consider that nutrition competent medical graduates require skills in referring to dietitians, an understanding and application of the social determinants of health, and practise applying multidisciplinary and evidence-based nutrition care.

Link to publisher’s web site


  • Journal: BMC Nutrition
  • Published: 22/08/2022
  • Volume: 8
  • Issue: 1
  • Pagination: 85