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Development of understanding of DOHaD concepts in students during undergraduate health professional programs in Japan and New Zealand

  • M. Oyamada (a1), A. Lim (a2), R. Dixon (a2), C. Wall (a3) and J. Bay (a4)...

Abstract

Evidence in support of the Developmental Origins of Health and Disease (DOHaD) hypothesis has reached the level where it can appropriately be used to inform practice. DOHaD informed interventions supporting primary noncommunicable disease risk reduction should target the pre- and periconceptional periods, pregnancy, lactation, childhood and adolescence. Such interventions are dependent on a health workforce (including dietitians, nurses, midwives, doctors, and nutrition teachers), that has a deep understanding of DOHaD concepts. This study assessed development of awareness of DOHaD concepts during undergraduate health professional training programs. Using a cross-sectional design, a standardized questionnaire was completed by Year 1–4 undergraduate students studying nutrition in Japan (n=309) and Year 1–3 nursing students in New Zealand (n=151). On entry to undergraduate study, most students had no awareness of the terms ‘DOHaD’ or ‘First 1000 Days’. While awareness reached 60% by Year 3 in courses that included DOHaD-related teaching, this remains inadequate. More than 95% of Year 1 undergraduates in both countries demonstrated an appreciation of associations between maternal nutrition and fetal health. However, awareness of associations between parental health status and/or nutritional environment and later-life health was low. While levels of awareness increased across program years, overall awareness was less than optimal. These results indicate evidence of some focus on DOHaD-related content in curricula. We argue that DOHaD principles should be one pillar around which health training curricula are built. This study indicates a need for the DOHaD community to engage with faculties in curriculum development.

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Copyright

This is an Open Access article, distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution licence (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/), which permits unrestricted re-use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Corresponding author

Address for correspondence: M. Oyamada, Department of Food Science and Human Nutrition, Faculty of Human Life Sciences, Fuji Women’s University, Hanakawa Minami 4-jou 5-choume, Ishikarishi, Hokkaido 061-3204, Japan.E-mail: oyamada@fujijoshi.ac.jp

References

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