Nutritional education for health professionals
The World Health Organization (WHO) emphasizes that pediatric primary health care professionals have an important role to play in tackling the childhood obesity epidemic, noting that “health professionals and all those providing services to children and adolescents need appropriate training on nutrition and diet, physical activity and the risk factors for developing obesity”.
The Dr.PED-Chef research project is about promotion of healthy nutrition in childhood and adolescence; a novel combination of culinary and applied nutritional education with the participation of pediatric primary health care practitioners.
The Dr.PED-Chef project is unique in bringing to Europe the novel educational approach of “culinary medicine”. Culinary medicine is a new evidence-based field in medicine that blends the art of food and cooking with the science of medicine and dietetics. This approach supports health professionals in deeply understanding a patient’s dietary habits, how meals and food has an impact on daily life, as well as shaping an effective counseling approach with the provision of more practical and tailor-made recommendations.
The promotion of healthy eating behaviors in childhood and adolescence through hands-on nutrition training to pediatricians and other pediatric primary health care practitioners, using the “culinary medicine” approach is the main aim of the Dr.PED-Chef project. The project’s target groups include pediatricians, pediatric nurses, public health doctors and nurses, family doctors, medical and nursing students specializing in pediatrics and other professionals involved in pediatric care, e.g. midwifes.
It seems there is inadequate focus on nutrition principles both during under- and post- graduate education for physicians and also other health professionals– especially concerning nutritional issues of specific populations like children. Focus group results organized in consortium countries revealed both a knowledge gap as well as a need among pediatric care practitioners for further training in applied dietetics.
Dr. PED-Chef is a three-year project (1/12/2019 – 30/11/2022) funded by the ERASMUS+ Programme of the European Union. The project is coordinated by the Norwegian University of Science and Technology, NTNU. Norway is represented by Center for Health Promotion Research. Other partners include the Center for Social Innovation LTD – CSI (Cyprus), Prolepsis (Greece), the Andrology Pediatric and Adolescent Foundation (Italy), University of Navarra (Spain), & Gazi University (Turkey).
The Dr.PED-Chef consortium will develop training for pediatric primary health care practitioners on healthy nutrition promotion in childhood and adolescence with the aim to improve their skills related to communication and counseling as well as skills and knowledge related to obesity prevention and treatment.