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Journal of Biomedical Education
Volume 2015 (2015), Article ID 143083, 8 pages
http://dx.doi.org/10.1155/2015/143083
Review Article

University Education in Human Nutrition: The Italian Experience—A Position Paper of the Italian Society of Human Nutrition

The Working Group on Education in Human Nutrition, The Italian Society of Human Nutrition (SINU), Italy

Received 2 March 2015; Accepted 5 May 2015

Academic Editor: Martin Kohlmeier

Copyright © 2015 Luca Scalfi et al. 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.

Abstract

As a broad range of professionals in clinical and nonclinical settings requires some expertise in human nutrition, the university system must offer academic courses tailored to these different specific needs. In the Italian university system there is still uncertainty with regard to the learning objectives regarding human nutrition. In the ministerial decrees defining the criteria for establishing university courses, the indications about education in human nutrition are rather inconsistent, sometimes detailed, but often just mentioned or even only implied. Education in human nutrition requires both an appropriate duration (number of university credits included in the degree format for different disciplines) and course units that are designed in order to achieve specific expertise. The university system should appropriately design and distinguish the nutritional competencies of the different types of graduates. Physiology and biochemistry are the academic disciplines mostly involved in teaching fundamentals of human nutrition, while the discipline sciences of applied nutrition and dietetics more strictly focuses on applied nutrition and clinical nutrition. Other academic disciplines that may contribute to education in human nutrition, depending on the type of degree, are internal medicine (and its subspecialties), hygiene, endocrinology, food technologies, food chemistry, commodity science, and so forth.