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Assessment of the Dieticians' Attitudes about Functional Foods and Their Needs for Training

  • Cha, Myeong-Hwa (Department of Food and Nutrition, Yeungnam University) ;
  • Park, Jyung-Rewng (Department of Food and Nutrition, Yeungnam University) ;
  • Choi, Jyung-Hwa (Department of Hotel, Restaurant, Institution Management and Dietetics)
  • Published : 2005.09.01

Abstract

The object of this study was to examine attitudes and knowledge of Korean dieticians about functional foods. We investigated their perceived knowledge and their attitudes regarding risks versus benefits, and recommendation about the use of functional foods; as well as their frequency of personal use, and the educational supports and training needs of dieticians. We developed a questionnaire to assess the dieticians' attitudes related to functional foods. This questionnaire was used for characterizing functional food-related attitudes on the basis of factor and reliability analysis in the following study. The questionnaires were distributed to 802 practicing dieticians working in Daegu and Gyeongsangbukdo. A total of 244 respondents (mean age $34\pm5.7$ years) returned the completed questionnaires through online surveys. Descriptive statistics and ANOV A were used to analyze data. Fewer than $2\%$ of dieticians claimed themselves to be knowledgeable about functional foods, more than $79\%$ consumed functional foods more than once a week, and $88\%$ of dieticians expressed an interest in receiving training about functional foods. Dieticians had favorable attitudes about the rewards from functional foods but were not confident about the safety and usage recommedation of these foods. The level of knowledge and educational support at their universities about functional foods affected the dieticians' attitudes regarding the rewards from and recommendation about the use of functional foods. These results suggest a need for additional educational opportunities to facilitate a better understanding of the risks and benefits of functional foods and their proper usage. Dietetics professionals must adapt to changes in health practices through effective educational programs integrating sufficient knowledge about functional foods.

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