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An international research concludes the need for training of pediatricians to promote a healthy per diem expenses in children and their families.

"Limited information in culinary medicine makes it difficult for pediatricians to pass on knowledge about nutrition," says University doctor Miguel Ruiz Canela

FotoManuelCastells/University of Navarra researchers participating in project. From left to right, Susana Santiago, Miguel Ruiz Canela, Itziar Zazpe and Nerea Martín-Calvo.

10 | 03 | 2021

The training in culinary medicine oriented to pediatrics is an unmet need in practically no European country. This is the main conclusion of the second international meeting of project Dr. PED-Chef, recently organized by the University of Navarra. 

Adequate nutrition is core topic for infantdevelopment and for good health during adulthood. Health professionals specializing in pediatrics are well aware of the need for good per diem expenses, but at internship it is not easy to promote it. "Lack of time, limited information on nutritional and culinary issues or in the development of communication skills and motivation are some barriers that can hinder the transmission of knowledge aimed at an improvement in the nutrition of children, adolescents and their families," said Dr. Miguel Ruiz Canela, epidemiologist of the department of Preventive Medicine and Public Health of the University of Navarra.

Dr. Ruiz Canela leads the group of researchers from the University in this project, formed by the pediatrician Nerea Martín-Calvo and the dieticians-nutritionists Susana Santiago and Itziar Zazpe. "The improvement of this status becomes urgent in a society in which the prevalence of overweight and obesity in the child population is increasing", continues Dr. Ruiz Canela.

The University is the Spanish representative in the project Dr. PED-CHEF, funded by the Erasmus+ KA2 program, and in which researchers from Norway, Greece, Cyprus, Turkey and Italy also participate.

Nutritional Health Communication and Culinary Medicine Course

The project, which started in December 2019 and has a duration of 36 months, aims to increase awareness of the importance of nutritional counseling in pediatric primary care. The specific goal is to develop a course that will enable professionals to acquire competencies in nutritional health communication practices and culinary medicine.

The second meeting of work of this project, which was developed in online format due to the pandemic, took place on February 4 and 11 and had the objective of goal to define the modules and contents of the training program. For this purpose, all the existing literature and courses offered on nutrition and gastronomy for pediatric specialists had been previously reviewed. Focus groups were also organized beforehand to learn first-hand about the needs detected by pediatricians, parents and trainers from the six countries that make up project.

"One of the main conclusions is that pediatric professionals need training internship to convey to children and their parents not only the what but also the how, that is, to go beyond general and well known messages such as that children should eat more vegetables. In addition, we have detected that one of the main needs that families have expressed is to receive more information on the nutrition of healthy children after the first 2 years of age and in special situations such as families or vegetarian children or overweight children", explained Dr. Miguel Ruiz Canela.

The course will contain six modules on basic and applied principles of nutrition and culinary medicine and specific content on how to improve communication of these topics with families in the context of pediatrics.