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Diet, Digestion, and the Dietitian: A Survey of Clinicians’ Knowledge, Attitudes and Practices to Advance the Treatment of Gastrointestinal Disturbances in Individuals with Anorexia Nervosa

Despite advances in treatment of anorexia nervosa (AN), current therapeutic approaches do not fully consider gastrointestinal disturbances (GID), often present in AN. Addressing GID, both symptoms and disorders, is likely to improve treatment adherence and outcomes in people with AN. GID are complex and are linked to a range of factors related to eating disorder symptomology and can be impacted by nutritional treatment. It is not known which dietetic practices are currently used to address GID in AN. Therefore, this survey aimed to explore the perceived knowledge, attitudes, and practices (KAP) of Australian dietitians treating AN and co-occurring GID. Seventy dietitians participated by completing an online survey. Knowledge scores were calculated based on correct responses to knowledge items (total: 12 points); and two groups were generated: higher knowledge (≥10 points, n = 31) and lower knowledge (≤9 points, n = 39). A greater proportion of dietitians with higher knowledge recognized the role of GID in pathogenesis of AN (p = 0.002) and its impact on quality of life (p = 0.013) and screened for GID (p ≤ 0.001), compared with those with lower knowledge. These results suggest that attitudes and practices toward patients presenting with AN and GID differ depending on level of knowledge. This may have important implications for treatment outcomes for individuals with AN and GID.

History

Journal

Journal of Clinical Medicine

Volume

11

Article number

5833

Pagination

1-12

Location

Basel, Switzerland

ISSN

2077-0383

eISSN

2077-0383

Language

English

Publication classification

C1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal

Issue

19

Publisher

MDPI