Characterization of the opinion, knowledge and perception of the training needs of Portuguese nutritionists in relation to genetically modified foods

Isabella Vieira*, Teresa R. S. Brandão, Elisabete Pinto, Margarida Silva

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review



Introduction: Genetically modified (GM) foods have been approved in the European Union. These foods have been questioned for their actual benefits and risks. This is especially relevant in the case of the nutritional dimension, where consumers are confronted with daily decisions about how to best feed their families. Within this complex framework, health professionals are called upon to intervene and respond to the questions on opinion, attitude and science their clients bring in. The objective of this study was to evaluate the knowledge and opinion of nutritionists on the subject of transgenic foods and their perception of training needs. Material and Methods: Quantitative research. A questionnaire was applied between March and July 2016, and 248 individuals participated. The variables studied were opinion, knowledge, and training. Descriptive calculations and multiple correspondence analysis were performed to obtain the respondents' profiles. Results: With regard to opinion and knowledge results show that nutritionists are mostly unfavorable to genetically modified foods, even without knowing the technology in detail. They are aware of this illiteracy, which was confirmed by their answers to a number of objective questions about the national reality. Multiple correspondence analysis showed four different nutritionists' profiles are sufficient to group all participants. These profile types differ in interest and confidence levels relatively to the GM technology. Portuguese nutritionists do not have a unanimous position on GM foods but mostly agree that specific training in this area should take place at the university level. Conclusions: This article highlights the different profiles of opinion, knowledge, and training needs of health professionals, nutritionists, in relation to genetically modified foods. Lifelong learning and interdisciplinary training supported by specific research, associations of health professionals and interference in public policies may strengthen attitudes towards the thematic.

Translated title of the contributionCaracterización de la opinión, el conocimiento y la percepción de las necesidades de capacitación de los nutricionistas portugueses en relación con los alimentos genéticamente modificados
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)261-270
Number of pages10
JournalRevista Espanola de Nutricion Humana y Dietetica
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2019


  • Education
  • Food
  • Knowledge
  • Nutritionists
  • Genetically modified


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