Journal of Indian Association of Public Health Dentistry

ORIGINAL ARTICLE
Year
: 2018  |  Volume : 16  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 38--47

Do the dental students have enough nutritional knowledge? A survey among students of a dental college in Telangana State


Yajesh Chalmuri, T Madhavi Padma, K. V. N. R. Pratap, P Vineela, L Surya Chandra Varma, Y Vidyasagar 
 Department of Public Health Dentistry, Mamata Dental College, Khammam, Telangana, India

Correspondence Address:
Dr. Yajesh Chalmuri
Department of Public Health Dentistry, Mamata Dental College, Khammam, Telangana
India

Abstract

Introduction: Nutritional knowledge affects nutritional status and nutritional habits of individuals, families, and society. It is important to know the current level of nutritional knowledge among health-care professionals for successful health promotion. Aim: The aim of this study is to assess the nutritional knowledge among students of a dental college in Telangana state. Materials and Methods: A cross-sectional questionnaire study was conducted among dental students. A standard questionnaire which consisted of questions on awareness of current dietary recommendations, knowledge of food sources and nutrients, and on diet-disease relationships was administered to the students during college hours. The data collected was analyzed using descriptive statistics. Results: Among 400 dental students, majority of them were female (59.75%). The mean age of the participants was 22.29 ± 2.64 years. The nutritional knowledge on dietary recommendations was similar in both females (88.58%), and males (87.63%) which was not statistically significant (P = 0.5660) Postgraduates had more nutritional knowledge than undergraduates. Conclusion: It is learnt that males and females had similar nutritional knowledge; however, postgraduate students had more nutritional knowledge compared to undergraduates irrespective of the gender, and there is a need to improve the nutritional knowledge of undergraduate students.



How to cite this article:
Chalmuri Y, Padma T M, Pratap K, Vineela P, Varma L S, Vidyasagar Y. Do the dental students have enough nutritional knowledge? A survey among students of a dental college in Telangana State.J Indian Assoc Public Health Dent 2018;16:38-47


How to cite this URL:
Chalmuri Y, Padma T M, Pratap K, Vineela P, Varma L S, Vidyasagar Y. Do the dental students have enough nutritional knowledge? A survey among students of a dental college in Telangana State. J Indian Assoc Public Health Dent [serial online] 2018 [cited 2022 Aug 20 ];16:38-47
Available from: https://www.jiaphd.org/text.asp?2018/16/1/38/228305


Full Text

 Introduction



The World Health Organization estimates that over 80% of current chronic disease burden is attributable to dietary and lifestyle factors with the economic costs of this burden growing steadily.[1] The quality of diet plays a vital role in the health of people of all ages. A balanced diet is essential for a healthy living. Thus, nutrition is a vital component of health promotion and disease prevention,[1] so health-care professionals have the primary responsibility toward patient's health and safety including treatment and prevention. Health-care professionals need to develop skills in providing nutritional messages, identify those at nutritional risk, or refer to dieticians or other specialists as appropriate. For doing, so knowledge on nutrition is important.

India has 310 dental colleges, annually >30,000 graduates and 4000 postgraduates obtain their degrees from these colleges.[2] These dental professionals are exposed to a wide range of patients as a part of their training and practice after graduation. It is often said, “the mouth is a mirror of the body” as nutrition and oral health share a synergistic and multidirectional relationship. In general, the nutrients not only have an impact on general health but also do have an impact on oral cavity. If nutrition is poor, the first signs often show-up in oral health.[3] Dieticians, nutritionists, clinicians, and dentists recognize diet and nutrition as an important tool in the prevention of various diseases. They should be updated with all the available facts and information about the same. Hence, knowledge on nutrition is important for dentists.

There are studies assessing the nutritional knowledge among undergraduate medical students,[4] nurses,[5] and health-care workers.[6] However, limited literature is available focusing on the knowledge of dentists toward nutrition. Thus, the present study was done with an aim to assess the knowledge of dental students toward nutrition and objectives of the study were to assess and to compare the nutritional knowledge among males and females and among undergraduate and postgraduate dental students.

 Materials and Methods



This cross-sectional, questionnaire-based study was conducted on dental students in February 2017 after obtaining permission from the ethical review board of the institution. A convenient sampling method is used to assess the nutritional knowledge among undergraduate and postgraduate dental students and present on the day of study was included in the study.

The nutritional knowledge is assessed using the questionnaire which was designed based on the study conducted by Labban.[7] This self-administered questionnaire was pilot tested among 30 students, and the reliability of the questionnaire was found to be good (Cronbach's alpha 0.9845). The face and content validity of the questionnaire was assessed by panel of experts, and no modification was suggested. The questionnaire consisted of two parts. Part 1 includes demographic data and part 2 consisted of questions assessing awareness of current dietary recommendations (3 questions), knowledge of food sources and nutrients (6 questions), and on diet-disease relationships (5 questions).

The questionnaire was distributed among undergraduate and postgraduate students after explaining in detail about the study. Each participant had taken 10 min to fill the questionnaire. The data were collected and entered into Microsoft Excel sheet and were then subjected to analysis using the Statistical Package for Social Sciences software, version 21 (International Business Machines Corp, released 2012, IBM SPSS, statistics for windows, version 21, Armonk, NY, USA) descriptive statistics, Chi-square test, and P values were calculated. P < 0.05 was considered as statistically significant.

 Results



A total of 400 dental students participated in this study, out of which majority were female students (59.75%). Furthermore, most of the students were undergraduates (79.50%). The mean age group was 22.9 ± 2.64 years [Table 1].{Table 1}

Most of the females (88.7%) agreed with expert's view of eating more amounts of vegetables, less amount of sugary food (72.38%), as compared to males and it was statistically significant (P = 0.0120). Majority of the females also agreed to have less amount of fatty food (74.90%), more amounts of high-fiber foods (69.87%) [Table 2].{Table 2}

Majority of the postgraduates (34.15%) when compared with the undergraduates (27.99%) agreed that diet containing polysaturated fat is to be reduced for maintaining good health, and it was found to be statistically significant (P = 0.0100) [Table 3]. Most of the males (63.35%) agreed that fruit yoghurt has high amount of added sugar, and majority of the males (90.06%) agreed that chicken contains high amount of proteins [Table 4].{Table 3}{Table 4}

Majority of the postgraduates (50.00%) agreed that tomato ketchup has high amount of added sugar. Majority of the undergraduates (41.51%) agreed that fat has more calories than sugar, fiber, and starch food [Table 5].{Table 5}

A total of 81% males agreed that constipation is the major health problem related to low intake of fruit and vegetables [Table 6] and 98.78% of postgraduates felt that diabetes is the major health problem related to sugar [Table 7].{Table 6}{Table 7}

 Discussion



The inadequate nutritional knowledge and misconceptions about nutrition can have serious impact on nutritional status of the dentist as well as the patient. The unhealthy dietary patterns may lead to the progression of obesity and many other chronic diseases. As there are increasingly available nutrient poor products in the market, nutrition knowledge of the products, people consume plays a pivotal role in maintaining a balanced diet which in turn maintains a healthy body. Various aspects of nutritional knowledge are compared in this study.

In the present study, the nutritional knowledge on dietary recommendations according to health experts was similar in both females (88.58%) and males (87.63%). The prevalence was in accordance with a previous study [8] in which both males (53%) and females (50%) had similar nutritional knowledge on dietary recommendations. Knowledge on diet-disease relationship was almost similar in both males (81.3%) and females (80.33%). This result was almost similar to the study,[8] where knowledge on diet-disease relationship of males was found to be 38% and females were 32%. Probable reasons for similar nutritional knowledge on dietary recommendations and diet-disease relationship among males and females and similar result in both studies were due to education on physiology of the body and needs of the body since the studies were conducted in health-care professional and sportspersons, respectively.

Knowledge of food sources and nutrients in the present study was more in females (78.24%) than males (66.46%). The prevalence was in disagreement with the study,[8] in which both males (52%) and females (50%) had similar knowledge on food sources and nutrients, probable reasons might be females are more conscious about food sources and also according to a study,[9] women learn more quickly and respond more readily, practically to the information they learned.

In the present study, the nutritional knowledge on dietary recommendations was more among postgraduates (31.4%) than undergraduates (27.9%), in the similar manner knowledge of food sources and nutrients was more among postgraduates (67.0%) than undergraduates (49.3%). The prevalence was in accordance with the previous study,[10] in which knowledge of physical education students (60.9%) is more than students in different branches like business (55.8%) and computers (56.5%).

Knowledge on diet-disease relationship was more among postgraduates (87.8%) than undergraduates (78.9%). The prevalence was in accordance with a study.[7] Students enrolled in health-related programs (41.2%) had more knowledge on diet-disease relationship than students in nonhealth-related programs (36.8%).

Overall comparison between undergraduate and postgraduate students showed that postgraduates had better nutritional knowledge in all aspects as compared to undergraduates. The probable reason could be that postgraduates present and participate in seminars, attend conferences, and continuing dental education programs and update their knowledge as compared to undergraduates. Further reasons are to be explored in this regard.

As the nutritional knowledge of undergraduate students was low, a nutrition website on university scale can be developed focusing on various aspects of nutrition to improve their knowledge. Workshops and seminars [3] should be organized on the same and also a course on nutrition should be made compulsory for the undergraduates. Since the study was conducted in a single dental institution, results cannot be generalized. Further research should be carried out involving larger sample.

 Conclusion



In the present study, it is learnt that males and females had similar nutritional knowledge, but postgraduate students had more nutritional knowledge compared to undergraduates irrespective of the gender.

Financial support and sponsorship

Nil.

Conflicts of interest

There are no conflicts of interest.

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