WNCIT is a Web Based Nutrition Implementation Toolkit designed to enable medical courses across Australia to effectively embed nutrition into entry level medical courses, enabling graduates to be nutritionally competent and effectively reduce the burden of lifestyle related disease within our community. Underpinned by The Nutrition Competency Framework which covers:
- 4 knowledge-based competencies
- 5 Skill-based competencies
This was developed through an Office of Learning and Teaching (OLT) Innovation and Development Grant, which involved four higher education institutions including:
- Deakin University (post-graduate Bachelor of Medicine\Bachelor of Surgery)
- University of Queensland (post-graduate Doctor of Medicine)
- Monash University (undergraduate and graduate Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery)
- University of Tasmania (undergraduate Bachelor of Medicine\Bachelor of Surgery)
- Dietitian's Association Australia (DAA)
Why Nutrition is an essential component of medical care
Medical graduates in Australia are ill equipped to identify and appropriately manage nutritional issues of patients, whether as inpatients or those living in residential care or the community. Inappropriate nutritional management contributes to increased complication rates and increased hospitalisation time (Ulltang et al. 2013). Economic evidence indicates that treatment or prevention of malnutrition provides an opportunity to improve patient wellbeing and lower health system costs (Milte et al. 2013). Increasing rates of obesity and type II diabetes in the community are primarily due to unhealthy lifestyle practices including poor nutrition, which require early identification, management and appropriate professional support. To effectively reduce the burden of disease related to nutrition, doctors and other health professionals need to be able to identify nutritional risk and manage patients appropriately within an interdisciplinary team, to ensure suitable treatment is delivered. Crowley et al. 2019 found that globally, nutrition education provided to medical students is not sufficient to develop confidence in providing nutritional care.
Doctors could effectively reduce the burden of disease if they had the skills to identify nutritional risk and effectively contribute to the nutritional management of patients.
Ulltang M, Vivanti AP, Murray E . Malnutrition prevalence in a medical assessment and planning unit and its association with hospital readmission. Aust Health Rev. 2013 Nov;37(5):636-41
Milte RK, Ratcliffe J, Miller MD, Crotty M. Economic evaluation for protein and energy supplementation in adults: opportunities to strengthen the evidence. Eur J Clin Nutr. 2013 Dec;67(12):1243-50.
Crowley J, Ball L, Hiddink G. Nutrition in Medical Education: a systematic review. Lancet Planet Health 2019, 3;e379-e389
“Dr Michael Gregor MD highlights the impact of nutrition on the prevention and course of illness, and why it is imperative to incorporate nutrition into medical education.”
Support for this project has been provided by the Australian Government Office for Learning and Teaching . The views in this project do not necessarily reflect the views of the Australian Government office for learning and Teaching.