Physician informational needs in providing nutritional guidance to patients.Fam Med 2004 Nov-Dec; 36(10):722-6FM
This study's objective was to assess patient nutrition inquiries and related physician resources to identify the nutrition topics about which physicians most need information for patients and practice.
A survey was mailed to a 50% random sample of Washington Academy of Family Physicians (WAFP) members (n=778) to identify the top 10 patient nutrition inquiries that the physician would like to be better equipped to answer. The responding physicians' use of nutrition resources (journals, pamphlets, Web resources, toll-free numbers, and referrals to registered dietitians) was also recorded.
A total of 306 (39.3%) physicians responded. The majority wanted more information on weight management (66.5%), followed by information on herbals, botanicals, and other complementary and alternative medicines (CAM) (36.4%) and vitamin and mineral supplements (24.4%). Other common nutrition inquiries for which respondents wanted more information included diet for prevention of disease, high protein-low carbohydrate diets, and childhood nutrition. A minority of respondents used nutrition Web resources and toll-free numbers. Nearly all respondents reported referring patients to registered dietitians.
Physicians in our survey expressed a need for information on topics such as obesity, CAM, and life cycle and disease-specific diets. Medical nutrition educators should consider the educational needs of the practicing physician.