Nutrition education on malnutrition in older adults in European medical schools: need for improvement?

Doris Eglseer*, Marjolein Visser, Dorothee Volkert, Christa Lohrmann

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Purpose: Malnutrition is a condition which is highly prevalent, especially in older persons. Physicians play an important role in multidisciplinary nutritional management, but often feel inadequately prepared to provide nutritional information/therapy to their patients. The aim of this study was to gather information on curricular content on malnutrition in older persons in basic study programs for medical doctors. Methods: We selected a cross-sectional study design and used a Web-based online survey. We emailed the Web link to those persons responsible for curriculum development at 310 medical schools in 31 European countries. Results: A total of 26 (8.4%) medical schools in 12 European countries completed the questionnaire. The topic of malnutrition in older adults was included as part of the medical students’ curricula at 50.0% (13 out of 26) of the participating institutions. Most commonly topics taught in the institutions were causes of malnutrition (13, 50%), assessment of malnutrition (13, 50%) and consequences of malnutrition (12, 46.2%). The topic of malnutrition screening was addressed in nine (35%) of the institutions. Conclusions: Based on our results, we strongly recommend including the topic of malnutrition in older adults in the undergraduate curricula of medical students in Europe. A special focus should be placed on multidisciplinary cooperation. Integrative teaching that targets all professional groups could be one option. Initiatives need to be carried out to create a higher level of awareness and promote improvements in nutrition education for medical doctors.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)313-318
Number of pages6
JournalEuropean Geriatric Medicine
Issue number2
Early online date9 Jan 2019
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2019


Acknowledgements Open access funding provided by Medical University of Graz. The preparation of this paper was supported by the MAlNUtrition in the ELderly (MaNuEL) knowledge hub. This work was supported by the Joint Programming Initiative ‘Healthy Diet for a Healthy Life’. The funding agencies supporting this work are: Austria: Federal Ministry of Science, Research and Economy (BMWFW—; France: Ecole Supérieure d’Agricultires (ESA); Germany: Federal Ministry of Food and Agriculture (BMEL) (2815ERA10E and 2815ERA08E) represented by Federal Office for Agriculture and Food (BLE); Ireland: Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine (DAFM) (15/HDHL/2 MANUEL); and the Health Research Board (HRB); Spain: Instituto de Salud Carlos III, and the SENATOR trial (FP-HEALTH-2012-305930); The Netherlands: The Netherlands Organisation for Health Research and Development (ZonMw) (50-52905-98-499).

FundersFunder number
Bundesministerium für Wissenschaft, Forschung und Wirtschaft
Bundesministerium für Bildung, Wissenschaft und KulturBMWFW-10.420/0004-WF/V/3c/2016


    • Education
    • Europe
    • Geriatrics
    • Malnutrition
    • Medical students
    • Nutrition
    • Older adults


    Dive into the research topics of 'Nutrition education on malnutrition in older adults in European medical schools: need for improvement?'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

    Cite this