Nutrition from the kitchen: culinary medicine impacts students' counseling confidence.

Affiliation

Magallanes E(1), Sen A(2), Siler M(3), Albin J(4).
Author information:
(1)UT Southwestern School of Medicine, 5323 Harry Hines Blvd, Dallas, TX, 75390, USA.
(2)Department of Internal Medicine, UT Southwestern Medical Center, 5323 Harry Hines Blvd, Dallas, TX, 75390, USA.
(3)Moncrief Cancer Institute at UT Southwestern, 400 W. Magnolia Ave, Fort Worth, TX, 76104, USA.
(4)Departments of Pediatrics and Internal Medicine, UT Southwestern Medical Center, 5323 Harry Hines Blvd, Dallas, TX, 75390, USA. [Email]

Abstract

BACKGROUND: Although a poor diet is the number one risk factor for early death in the United States and globally, physicians receive little to no training in dietary interventions and lack confidence counseling patients about lifestyle modifications. Innovative, interprofessional strategies to address these gaps include the emergence of culinary medicine, a hands-on approach to teaching the role of food in health outcomes. We sought to assess the impact of a culinary medicine elective on counseling confidence, awareness of an evidence-based approach to nutrition, and understanding of the role of interprofessional teamwork in dietary lifestyle change among medical students at one undergraduate medical school. METHODS: We administered pre- and post-course surveys to two cohorts of medical students (n = 64 at pre-test and n = 60 at post-test) participating in a culinary medicine enrichment elective. Chi-square analysis was used to assess the relationship between participation in the course and a positive response to each survey item. RESULTS: Compared with the baseline, students participating in culinary medicine were more likely to feel confident discussing nutrition with patients (29% vs 92%; p < 0.001), to feel familiar with the Mediterranean diet (54% vs. 97%; p < 0.001), and to understand the role of dietitians in patient care (37% vs. 93%; p < 0.001). CONCLUSIONS: Culinary medicine shows promise as an impactful educational strategy among first-year medical students for increasing counseling confidence, promoting familiarity with evidence-based nutrition interventions, and augmenting understanding of the role of interprofessional engagement to address lifestyle-related disease.