Revista de Nutrição
On-line version ISSN 1678-9865
RECINE, Elisabetta et al. Public health training in undergraduate nutrition courses in Brazil. Rev. Nutr. [online]. 2012, vol.25, n.1, pp.21-33. ISSN 1678-9865. http://dx.doi.org/10.1590/S1415-52732012000100003.
OBJECTIVE: The aim of this cross-sectional study was to characterize the training in public health offered by undergraduate nutrition courses, considering the profile of professors and disciplines in public health nutrition. METHODS: Questionnaires were sent to all public and private Brazilian institutions that offer an undergraduate nutrition course and had at least one class of graduates by the first semester of 2010 (n=296). The following data were assessed: when the course became available, number of openings, availability of graduate courses, disciplines in the area of public health nutrition, course hour load, theoretical class/practical class hour load ratio and education of the respective professors. RESULTS: A total of 65 questionnaires were answered (22.0%). Most courses dedicated at most 30.0% of their hour load to public health nutrition disciplines. On average, 82.2% of the public health nutrition disciplines were compulsory. Almost 25.0% of the hour load of public health nutrition disciplines was dedicated to practical activities. In public institutions, more than 50.0% of the professors of 48.0% of the courses were dieticians, against 17.0% in private institutions. CONCLUSION: The public health nutrition area is characterized by the following disciplines: nutritional assessment, nutrition education, public health nutrition and epidemiology. The studied curricula need to increase the number of disciplines that train students for work at the Unified Health System (Sistema Único de Saúde), students who are capable of analyzing nutrition problems considering historical, political, economic, demographic, environmental and epidemiological contexts. It is also necessary to expand opportunities of learning where nutritional problems are analyzed considering historical, political, economic, demographic and environmental context. There are areas of knowledge that has been gaining importance in professional practice, such as school feeding, food and nutrition security, that still have minimal presence in undergraduate courses.
Keywords : Professional qualification; Nutritionist; Public health nutrition.