Exploring Knowledge and Attitudes of Personal Nutrigenomics Testing among Dietetic Students and its Value as a Component of Dietetic Education and Practice

Justine Horne*, Janet Madill, Colleen O’Connor
Department of Food and Nutritional Sciences, Brescia University College, 1285 Western Road, London, ON, N6G 1H2, Canada

*Corresponding Author: Justine Horne, MScFN, RD. Email:  jhorne5@uwo.ca

Background: Personal nutrigenomics testing (PNT) is becoming an increasingly common practice amongst registered dietitians (RDs); however, nutrigenomics education is only a minor component of a select few undergraduate dietetic programs. Objective: This study explored dietetic students’ knowledge and attitudes about PNT and its value as a potential additional component to the dietetic curriculum. Subjects and Methods: A total of 23 students participated in focus groups. An educational video describing nutrigenomics was shown to the participants. A semi-structured questionnaire guided the discussion and explored several topics including ethics, knowledge, awareness, perceived legitimacy and interest in PNT. Transcriptions were qualitatively analyzed. Results: The future of dietetics was identified as the global theme, while organizing themes included: further education, advancing the profession, a holistic approach, and ethics. Participants viewed PNT as a positive contributor to advancing the field of dietetics. Overall, students’ had minimal knowledge of nutrigenomics, but a strong desire to learn more. Conclusion: Results of this study indicate that potential future RDs believe that nutrigenomics is the future of dietetics and demonstrate a strong desire to learn more. With the increased use of PNT in dietetic practice, it is essential to include the science of nutrigenomics in the dietetic curriculum.

Keywords: Personal Nutrigenomics, Dietetic Students, Knowledge, Attitudes

Citation: Horne J, Madill J, O’Connor C.  Exploring knowledge and attitudes of personal nutrigenomics testing among dietetic students and its value as a component of dietetic education and practice. Canad J Clin Nutr 2016; 4 (1): 50-62.

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.14206/canad.j.clin.nutr.2016.01.07