Background: As the field of physical therapy increasingly acknowledges the integral role of nutritional assessment and counseling, revisiting this subject is essential due to limited updated information regarding this topic. Furthermore, it is crucial to investigate the factors that may influence physical therapists’ attitudes toward integrating nutritional assessment and counseling into their physical therapy practice. The study’s primary aim was to explore the attitudes of registered physical therapists in Israel toward incorporating nutritional assessment and counseling into their clinical practice. We also explored the relation between personal and professional characteristics of physical therapists and their attitudes. Methods: An anonymous nationwide online self-report survey was conducted. It included three sections: personal and professional background characteristics, self-reported level of nutritional knowledge and sources of nutritional knowledge, and attitudes toward incorporating nutritional assessment and counseling into practice. Descriptive statistics were calculated for all outcome measures. The total score of the attitude statements was compared between different groups of participants. Multiple linear regression analysis was used to predict positive attitudes. Results: The study included 409 physical therapists. The attitude score was 19.78 (2.53) of 25, indicating a positive attitude. A majority (67%) reported that they did not acquire knowledge regarding nutrition during their entry-level studies or in other formal settings (63%). The three primary sources of nutritional information for the participants reported were the Internet (87.0%), registered dietitian (70.0%), and professional, scientific journals (36.0%). Prior knowledge acquired during entry-level physical therapist studies and clinical experience of ≥ 13 years significantly predicted positive attitudes (β = 0.17, β = −0.13, respectively). Conclusion: Registered physical therapists held a positive attitude toward incorporating nutritional assessment and counseling into their clinical practice. Two background professional characteristics were predictors of positive attitudes. Accordingly, there is need to appropriate formal education regarding nutritional issues. Further studies are required to explore the actual integration of nutrition into the physical therapy framework.
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© 2023, The Author(s).
- Nutritional knowledge
- Registered physical therapists
ASJC Scopus subject areas