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The Domains of Human Nutrition: The Importance of Nutrition Education in Academia and Medical Schools

Donini L, Leonardi F, Rondanelli M, Banderali G, Battino M, Bertoli E, Bordoni A, Brighenti F, Caccialanza R, Cairella G, Caretto A, Cena H, Gambarara M, Gentile M, Giovannini M, Lucchin L, Migliaccio P, Nicastro F, Pasanisi F, Luca Piretta L, Radrizzani D, Roggi C Rotilio G, Luca Scalfi L, Vettor R Vignati F, Battistini N (2017) Front. Nutr.  DOI=10.3389/fnut.2017.00002   

Web URL: Read the full article in Frontiers in Nutrition here


Human nutrition encompasses an extremely broad range of medical, social, commercial, and ethical domains and thus represents a wide, interdisciplinary scientific and cultural discipline. The high prevalence of both disease-related malnutrition and overweight/obesity represents an important risk factor for disease burden and mortality worldwide. It is the opinion of Federation of the Italian Nutrition Societies (FeSIN) that these two sides of the same coin, with their sociocultural background, are related to a low “nutritional culture” secondary, at least in part, to an insufficient academic training for health-care professionals (HCPs). Therefore, FeSIN created a study group, composed of delegates of all the federated societies and representing the different HCPs involved in human nutrition, with the aim of identifying and defining the domains of human nutrition in the attempt to more clearly define the cultural identity of human nutrition in an academically and professionally oriented perspective and to report the conclusions in a position paper. Three main domains of human nutrition, namely, basic nutrition, applied nutrition, and clinical nutrition, were identified. FeSIN has examined the areas of knowledge pertinent to human nutrition. Thirty-two items were identified, attributed to one or more of the three domains and ranked considering their diverse importance for academic training in the different domains of human nutrition. Finally, the study group proposed the attribution of the different areas of knowledge to the degree courses where training in human nutrition is deemed necessary (e.g., schools of medicine, biology, nursing, etc.). It is conceivable that, in the near future, a better integration of the professionals involved in the field of human nutrition will eventually occur based on the progressive consolidation of knowledge, competence, and skills in the different areas and domains of this discipline.


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