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The adequate intake of micronutrients is important to maintain optimal health and prevent nutritional disorders and chronic disease. Studies have shown that medical students often reduce self-care behaviors and lack adequate dietary intake, leading to nutritional deficiencies. In this quantitative cross-sectional study, measurements of micronutrient levels in a sample of allied health and nursing students were compared to Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA) values. NutritionQuest Data-on-Demand System was used to analyze nutrients and food group intake. The postpositivist paradigm was used to examine how the independent and dependent variables relate to each other. Using a one-sample t test, a comparison of average micronutrient intake among study participants with RDA values for those micronutrients showed that average micronutrient intake in the study population was higher than recommended values. Two sample t-test results showed no significant difference in average intake of micronutrients among participants with high and low income levels, or with high and low stress levels. As the normality assumption was not satisfied by the outcome variables, nonparametric tests were used to evaluate hypotheses. While this finding does not support the original hypothesis, it could have implications for the role of allied health and nursing practitioners in the care of both their patients and members of their medical team. Conversely, an assumption of this study was that a high level of similarity between the traditional medical student population and the allied health and nursing population in terms of nutritional habits may have led to a flaw in the overall research hypothesis. The detection of micronutrient deficiencies in students can bring awareness to improve nutritional intake and initiate a change in how public health officials advocate healthy and balanced diets.
Cruz-Espaillat, Grisseel A., "A Cross-Sectional Study: Dietary Micronutrient Levels in Allied Health and Nursing Students" (2015). Walden Dissertations and Doctoral Studies. 350.