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Nutrients 2017, 9(3), 220; doi:10.3390/nu9030220

Perceptions and Knowledge of Nuts amongst Health  Professionals in New Zealand

1
Department of Human Nutrition, University of Otago, P.O. Box 56, Dunedin 9054, New Zealand
2
Nutrition Society of New Zealand, Whanganui 4543, New Zealand
3
Department of Preventive and Social Medicine, University of Otago, PO Box 56, Dunedin 9054, New Zealand
4
Department of Surgical Sciences, University of Otago, PO Box 56, Dunedin 9054, New Zealand
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 1 December 2016 / Accepted: 23 February 2017 / Published: 1 March 2017
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Abstract

Despite their nutritional value, population‐level nut consumption remains low. Studies suggest that individuals would eat more nuts on their doctor’s advice, making health professionals potentially important for promoting nut consumption. This cross‐sectional study aimed to examine the perceptions and knowledge of nuts and the predictors of nut promotion among health professionals in New Zealand. Dietitians, general practitioners (GPs), and practice nurses were identified from the Electoral Roll and invited to complete a questionnaire (n = 318, 292, and 149 respondents respectively). Over one‐fifth of GPs and practice nurses believed that eating nuts could increase blood cholesterol concentrations and cause weight gain. The most common perceptions overall were that nuts are healthy; high in protein, fat, and calories; and are satiating. Nut consumption was recommended for reasons relating to these perceptions and because of nuts’ selenium content. Conversely, reasons for suggesting the consumption of fewer nuts included that they were high in calories and fat, would cause weight gain, and concerns regarding allergies and cost. All groups of health professionals were more likely to promote nut consumption if they perceived nuts to reduce the risk of diabetes (all p ≤ 0.034). Education could improve health professionals’ knowledge regarding the effects of nut consumption on blood cholesterol and body weight, alongside other health benefits, which should improve the advice given to patients and may thereby increase nut consumption. View Full-Text
Keywords: nuts; consumption; health professionals; knowledge; perceptions; cardioprotective nuts; consumption; health professionals; knowledge; perceptions; cardioprotective
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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MDPI and ACS Style

Brown, R.C.; Yong, L.C.; Gray, A.R.; Tey, S.L.; Chisholm, A.; Leong, S.L. Perceptions and Knowledge of Nuts amongst Health  Professionals in New Zealand. Nutrients 2017, 9, 220.

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