Article Text

Evaluation of a novel nutrition education intervention for medical students from across England
  1. Sumantra Ray1,
  2. Ruzan Udumyan2,
  3. Minha Rajput-Ray3,
  4. Ben Thompson4,
  5. Keri-Michele Lodge5,
  6. Pauline Douglas6,
  7. Poonam Sharma7,
  8. Rachel Broughton8,
  9. Sandra Smart8,
  10. Rick Wilson9,
  11. Stephen Gillam10,
  12. Mike J van der Es11,
  13. Ilana Fisher12,
  14. Joan Gandy13
  1. 1MRC Human Nutrition Research, Cambridge, UK
  2. 2Epidemiology and Public Health, University College London, London, UK
  3. 3Department of Medicine, Cambridge University Hospitals, Cambridge, UK
  4. 4Division of Medical Education, King's College London, London, UK
  5. 5Department of Health Sciences, University of York, North Yorkshire, UK
  6. 6School of Biomedical Sciences, University of Ulster, Northern Ireland
  7. 7Department of Rheumatology, Peterborough and Stamford Hospitals, Peterborough, UK
  8. 8Abbott Nutrition, Maidenhead, Berkshire, UK
  9. 9Nutrition and Dietetics, King's College Hospital, London, UK
  10. 10Public Health and Primary Care, IPH, University of Cambridge, Cambridge, UK
  11. 11NNEdPro Group, c/o MRC Human Nutrition Research, Cambridge, Cambridge, UK
  12. 12NNEdPro Group, c/o British Dietetic Association, Birmingham, UK
  13. 13Dietetics, University of Hertfordshire, Hatfield, and British Dietetic Association, Herts, UK
  1. Correspondence to Sumantra Ray; Sumantra.Ray{at}


Objectives Problems such as hospital malnutrition (∼40% prevalence in the UK) may be managed better by improving the nutrition education of ‘tomorrow's doctors’. The Need for Nutrition Education Programme aimed to measure the effectiveness and acceptability of an educational intervention on nutrition for medical students in the clinical phase of their training.

Design An educational needs analysis was followed by a consultative process to gain consensus on a suitable educational intervention. This was followed by two identical 2-day educational interventions with before and after analyses of Knowledge, Attitudes and Practices (KAP). The 2-day training incorporated six key learning outcomes.

Setting Two constituent colleges of Cambridge University used to deliver the above educational interventions.

Participants An intervention group of 100 clinical medical students from 15 medical schools across England were recruited to attend one of two identical intensive weekend workshops.

Primary and secondary outcome measures The primary outcome measure consisted of change in KAP scores following intervention using a clinical nutrition questionnaire. Secondary outcome measures included change in KAP scores 3 months after the intervention as well as a student-led semiqualitative evaluation of the educational intervention.

Results Statistically significant changes in KAP scores were seen immediately after the intervention, and this was sustained for 3 months. Mean differences and 95% CIs after intervention were Knowledge 0.86 (0.43 to 1.28); Attitude 1.68 (1.47 to 1.89); Practice 1.76 (1.11 to 2.40); KAP 4.28 (3.49 to 5.06). Ninety-seven per cent of the participants rated the overall intervention and its delivery as ‘very good to excellent’, reporting that they would recommend this educational intervention to colleagues.

Conclusion Need for Nutrition Education Programme has highlighted the need for curricular innovation in the area of clinical health nutrition in medical schools. This project also demonstrates the effectiveness and acceptability of such a curriculum intervention for ‘tomorrow's doctors’. Doctors, dietitians and nutritionists worked well in an effective interdisciplinary partnership when teaching medical students, providing a good model for further work in a healthcare setting.

This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Non-commercial License, which permits use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited, the use is non commercial and is otherwise in compliance with the license. See: and

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  • To cite: Ray S, Udumyan R, Rajput-Ray M, et al. Evaluation of a novel nutrition education intervention for medical students from across England. BMJ Open 2012;2:e000417. doi:10.1136/bmjopen-2011-000417

  • Contributors SR conceptualised the research, sought the funding and refined the design proposal for the research. SR, MR-R, PD, RW and JG were involved in the planning, adjustment and implementation of the design. SR, PD and JG handled liaison with the British Dietetic Association who hosted the administration of the research. K-ML and BT oversaw participant recruitment. SR, MR-R, BT, K-ML, PS, RB, SS, RW, SG and JG were involved in the organisation or teaching of the two weekend courses. SR, BT and RU managed the evaluation, statistical analysis and interpretation. SR, RU, MR-R, K-ML, PD, PS, SS, SG, RW, MJvdE, IF and JG drafted or critiqued or rewrote part or all the manuscript. SR is the guarantor. SJ is acknowledged as she critiqued the final draft. SS checked the final document for accuracy.

  • Funding This work was funded through an unrestricted educational grant from Abbott Nutrition. The study design, data collection, analysis and interpretation of the data were handled independent of Abbott Nutrition.

  • Competing interests None.

  • Ethics approval This study was exempted from the need for ethics approval at a discussion with the Tayside Ethics Committee, where the project was conceived.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

  • Data sharing statement Data may be shared as long as anonymity and confidentiality are preserved.