Obesity Knowledge among Final-Year Medical Students in Norway
Objectives: To assess the level of obesity knowledge in final-year medical students in Norway and to compare it to an expert group and first-year medical students. Methods: A 20-item questionnaire was specifically designed for this purpose (18 knowledge-based questions and 2 subjective questions looking at attitudes and self-perceived proficiency). All medical schools in Norway were included (n = 226). For comparison purposes, an expert group (n = 13) and first-year medical students (n = 96) were included. Results: Experts (81%; 15 out of 18 (13.5-16.0)) scored significantly higher than both final-year (60%; 11 out of 18 (9.0-12.0)) and first-year (48%; 9 out of 18 (7.0-10.0)) students. Final-year students scored significantly higher than first-year students, but showed inadequate obesity knowledge, especially with regard to etiology, diagnosis, and treatment aspects. Subjective questions revealed that medical students trust their acquired knowledge, but feel pressured by time constraints and the complexity of lifestyle issues and experience barriers to long-term follow-up. Conclusion: Final-year medical students in Norway show an inadequate knowledge level within the obesity field, although a significant improvement is seen during the course of medical education. They also show a high self-perceived proficiency in dealing with obesity, despite several constraints/barriers.
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