Genetics and diet-gene interactions: Involvement, confidence and knowledge of dietitians

  • Whelan K
  • McCarthy S
  • Pufulete M
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Diet-gene interactions have become the focus of much research in recent years. However, little is known about UK dietitians' involvement, confidence and knowledge in genetics and diet-gene interactions. A validated postal questionnaire sent to a randomly selected sample of 600 dietitians in the UK resulted in 390 responses (65 %). Most dietitians had no involvement in eleven activities relating to genetics and diet-gene interactions and lacked confidence in undertaking such activities. However, a significant positive association was found between involvement and confidence for all activities tested (P < 0.0001). A mean knowledge score of 41 % (sd 19) indicated generally low levels of knowledge in genetics and diet-gene interactions. Knowledge scores were higher for those who reported discussing the genetic basis of disease or discussing how diet-gene interactions affected risk (P < 0.05). For the majority of activities, dietitians who reported higher confidence had higher knowledge scores. Given the importance of interactions between genetics and nutrition in preventing and managing disease, this study identifies a need to increase the involvement, confidence and knowledge in genetics and diet-gene interactions of dietitians in the UK.

Author-supplied keywords

  • Diet-gene interactions
  • Dietitian
  • Genetics
  • Nutrigenetics
  • Nutrigenomics

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