Nutrition education on malnutrition in older adults in European medical schools: need for improvement?

Doris Eglseer, Marjolein Visser, Dorothee Volkert, Christa Lohrmann

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Purpose: Malnutrition is a condition which is highly prevalent, especially in older persons. Physicians play an important role in multidisciplinary nutritional management, but often feel inadequately prepared to provide nutritional information/therapy to their patients. The aim of this study was to gather information on curricular content on malnutrition in older persons in basic study programs for medical doctors. Methods: We selected a cross-sectional study design and used a Web-based online survey. We emailed the Web link to those persons responsible for curriculum development at 310 medical schools in 31 European countries. Results: A total of 26 (8.4%) medical schools in 12 European countries completed the questionnaire. The topic of malnutrition in older adults was included as part of the medical students’ curricula at 50.0% (13 out of 26) of the participating institutions. Most commonly topics taught in the institutions were causes of malnutrition (13, 50%), assessment of malnutrition (13, 50%) and consequences of malnutrition (12, 46.2%). The topic of malnutrition screening was addressed in nine (35%) of the institutions. Conclusions: Based on our results, we strongly recommend including the topic of malnutrition in older adults in the undergraduate curricula of medical students in Europe. A special focus should be placed on multidisciplinary cooperation. Integrative teaching that targets all professional groups could be one option. Initiatives need to be carried out to create a higher level of awareness and promote improvements in nutrition education for medical doctors.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)313-318
JournalEuropean Geriatric Medicine
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2019

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