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Food Allergy Educational Needs of Pediatric Dietitians: A Survey by the Consortium of Food Allergy Research

Groetch, Marion E., Christie, Lynn, Vargas, Perla A., Jones, Stacie M., Sicherer, Scott H.
Journal of nutrition education and behavior 2010 v.42 no.4 pp. 259-264
dietitians, nutrition education, professional education, dietetic education, education programs, child nutrition, food allergies, nutrition information, nutrition knowledge, diet counseling, world wide web, educational methods, educational resources, information sources
Objective: To determine pediatric dietitians' self-reported proficiency, educational needs, and preferences regarding food allergy (FA) management. Design and Setting: An Internet-based, anonymous survey was distributed to the Pediatric Nutrition Practice Group (PNPG) of the American Dietetic Association. Participants: Respondents (n = 311) were registered dietitians and members of the PNPG. Analysis: Results are presented using descriptive statistics. Chi-square tests were applied for subgroup analyses. Percentage responses were calculated per question based on the number of respondents answering the question. Results: On a 4-point scale of proficiency (“high,” “moderate,” “low,” and “none”), respondents primarily rated themselves “moderate” for educating families, creating diets, and evaluating safe food items, and “low” for creating diagnostic food challenges. Education was primarily self-taught (75%). Preferences for future resources included handbooks (77%) and Web-based instructional programs (53%). On a 4-point scale (“very” to “not at all” needed) among practices that included >10% patients with FA, ratings of “very” were defined as need resources to update FA knowledge (87%) and need for a FA “tool kit” (84%). Conclusions and Implications: Pediatric dietitians manage FA for a substantial patient base although their self-reported proficiency is overall only moderate. Dietitians would prefer and likely benefit from Internet-accessible management handbooks and patient handouts.