Nutrition Competence

Nutrition is a good example of how a long lasting disregard in education and learning systems has led to huge medical costs for individuals and societies nowadays. The obesity pandemic calls for urgent action and policy changes in the field of nutrition policies and learning goals for children and adults. Medical doctors have mostly discarded that it is also their responsibility to provide medical guidance on nutrition, as this is highly controversial at times and asks for behavioural changes of the patient. School teachers see little scope to act on the issue due to increasing demands in fields of literacy, numeracy, problem-solving, digital and communication skills. Hence, the hope is to fill the instruction and learning gaps with a hybrid approach of nurses taking on both roles and communicate with children as well as adults alike. This is a tough challenge for these persons, but hopes a high that they can make a significant improvement to the nutrition competences of individuals, pupils, their parents and specific target groups.
The starting point is to recognize that there is an issue with nutrition. The next to establish the best evidence and based on this to develop a curriculum for the nurses to be well-prepared for the challenge in the field. Even with the differentiation of different levels of competences, the learning has to be rather encompassing several related fields as well. Individual, behavioural as well as society-level factors like biology, technology, religious beliefs, economic and social factors determine nutritional choices and consumption. Just because there are so many factors to consider  does not justify to keep nutrition out of school curricula for example. Nutrition is a fine example of a topic which links disciplines across a broad range. It is a tasty, at times spicy mixture of issues to learn and apply. The former is the beginning, the latter the real challenge which needs ample and repeated guidance or coaching. (Image: Extrait of Abraham Mignon, 1640-1679, Undergrowth with flowers, animals and insects, MRBA Brussels)