Background: Dietitians and other health care professionals must be able to translate findings from clinical trials into best treatment practices, a skill termed “knowledge translation”. This skill requires knowledge of treatment guidelines as well as the science underpinning treatment recommendations. Unsatisfactory knowledge translation of medical nutrition therapy (MNT) has been documented. Methods: Individuals registered to attend a leading national nutrition conference were asked to participate in an online cross-sectional survey. Participants were asked to provide demographic and professional information, answer questions on nutrition knowledge and to choose a clinical action plan in response to dietitian-designed case vignettes describing research outcomes. Responses were compared by profession and participation in research activities. Results: Of 3000 registered conference attendees, 299 individuals replied: 79.0% dietitians, 93.3% female, with a mean household income matching the 5th decile of income, 60.7% indicated a single employment setting, 20.7% reported participating in research. Almost 74% of respondents indicated that they would make clinical recommendations based on findings of an in vitro study. In one vignette, a patient with a disease previously not encountered by the respondent required a clinical treatment plan. Only 53% of participants chose to seek formal nutrition guidelines. Fewer than 15% of participants could identify the pathway for fat during weight loss. Differences in knowledge translation skills by research participation were not detected. Conclusions: Our findings reveal a deficit in knowledge translation proficiency in a convenience sample of dietitians and other health professionals, highlighting the need to develop these skills.
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