Determining the level of comprehension of registered dietitians in South Africa with regard to the glycemic index (GI) used in the treatment of Diabetes Mellitus

Strydom, Hildegard (Stellenbosch : University Stellenbosch, 2009-12)

Thesis (MNutr (Interdisciplinary Health Sciences. Human Nutrition))--University of Stellenbosch, 2009.

Thesis presented in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Nutrition at Stellenbosch University.

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: The glycemic index (GI) has proven to be a valuable nutritional tool in the management and prevention of diabetes and other chronic diseases of lifestyle 1,3,4,5,6,79,12,14,15. In this quantitative, cross-sectional, observational and descriptive study, the aim was to determine the knowledge and level of comprehension of South African registered dietitians with regard to GI and glycemic load (GL) as well as to determine their ability to use/implement the GI in the treatment of diabetes / insulin resistance. A questionnaire was emailed to 388 registered dietitians for completion. The questionnaire was based on relevant scientific literature and divided into three parts. The first part gathered demographical information about the participants, with special emphasis on where they had acquired their knowledge of GI principles. The second and third parts contained closed-end questions to which the participants were required to answer ‘true’ or ‘false’ or were presented with a multiple choice. Twenty-five questions specifically focused on the GI and the other 12 focused on GL. One hundred and fourteen subjects took part in the study. The results showed that most dietitians (54 %) did not learn GI principles at university and that the year that they qualified did not affect test results. The University attended did not seem to affect test results either, with the exception of Medunsa (Medical University of South Africa), where graduates scored on average significantly lower than the rest of the group). The test scores varied between 43% and 97%. The average test score for the group was 71% with those dieticians in private practice scoring the highest average (76%) compared to those working in other practice areas. Although 84% percent of participants reportedly used GI principles in their daily practice with patients, compared to only 33% who reportedly used GL principles, results showed no significant difference between knowledge or comprehension levels of GI and GL or the ability to implement GI or GL principles. To conclude, South African dietitians seem to have a good general knowledge of GI, but there is still room for improvement in order to ensure that dietitians can become experts in the field. It is recommended that curricula be revised to give this subject more attention during formal university training.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: Navorsing het bewys dat die Glukemiese Indeks (GI) ‘n waardevolle wetenskaplike hulpmiddel is in die voorkoming en bestuur van diabetes en ander chroniese siektes van lewenstyl 1,3,4,5,6,79,12,14,15 . Die doelwit in hierdie kwantitatiewe, dwars-snit, beskrywende studie was om die kennis- en begripsvlak van Suid-Afrikaanse dieetkundiges te toets rakende die GI en glukemiese lading (GL) asook hul vermoëns om hierdie beginsels toe te pas en te gebruik in die behandeling van diabetes en insulienweerstandigheid. ‘n Vraelys is aan 388 dieetkundiges gepos. Die vraelys was gebasseer op relevante wetenskaplike literatuur en het uit drie afdelings beslaan. Die eerste afdeling was ten doel om demografiese inligting oor deelnemers te bekom met spesifieke belang by die afkoms van hul kennis oor die GI. Die tweede en derde afdelings het bestaan uit vrae waarop ‘waar’ of ‘vals’ gemerk moes word of uit veelvuldige keuse vrae. Vyfen-twintig vrae het gefokus op die GI en twaalf vrae het gefokus op die GL. Eenhonderd-en-veertien persone het deelgeneem aan die studie. Die resultate het getoon dat meerderheid van die deelnemers (54%) nie die beginsels aangaande die GI op universiteit geleer het nie. Die jaar waarop graduasie plaasgevind het, het blykbaar nie ‘n invloed op uitkoms gehad nie, en die universiteit waar graduasie plaasgevind het, het ook nie die uitslag beïnvloed nie, uitsluitend Medunsa (waar gegradueerdes aansienlik swakker gevaar het as die res van die groep). Toets uitslae het gewissel tussen 43% en 97%. Die gemiddelde toetspunt was 71%. Dieetkundiges werkend in privaat praktyk het die hoogste gemiddelde toetspunt van 76% behaal in vergelyking met dieetkundiges wat in ander velde praktiseer. Ten spyte daarvan dat 84% deelnemers aangetoon het dat hulle GI beginsels in hulle werksomstandighede toepas, in vergelyking met slegs 33% wat GL beginsels toepas, was daar geen noemenswaardige verskil in uitkomste rakende deelnemers se kennis of begripsvlak van GI of GL, of hul vermoë om verwante beginsels toe te pas nie. Ter opsomming wil dit voorkom of Suid- Afrikaanse dieetkundiges oor ‘n goeie vlak van algemene kennis betrekkende die GI beskik. Daar is wel steeds ruimte vir verbetering om te verseker dat dieetkundiges as ware kenners op die gebied kan optree. Dit word aanbeveel dat universiteite se kurrikulums aangepas word om sodoende voorsiening te maak vir verbeterde voor-graadse opleiding oor die onderwerp.

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