Objective. To determine the effectiveness of an intensive 4-week nutrition course in increasing the knowledge of undergraduate pharmacy students.
Design. A Nutrition and Therapeutics elective course was developed that covered the Australian Guide to Healthy Eating, as well as nutrition labeling, food composition, functional foods, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, nutrition and cancer, osteoporosis, nutrient-drug interactions, nutritional supplements, weight management, and infant feeding. The course was taught using lectures, student-focused tutorials featuring evidence-based practice, problem-based learning exercises, case-based scenarios, media examples, video clips from the lay press, and articles from the professional/scientific literature.
Assessment. A self-administered, validated questionnaire on dietary recommendations, sources of nutrients, choosing everyday foods, and diet-disease relationship was administered prior to and after completion of the course. Students’ scores in all 4 areas improved significantly; however, their knowledge of the national dietary recommendations, sources of nutrients, and everyday foods high in nutrients was below that of members of the community.
Conclusions. Nutritional education courses can increase the nutrition knowledge of undergraduate pharmacy students. The need for pharmacists to advise patients regarding nutritional supplements continues to increase the need for incorporating nutrition courses within curriculum.