Background: Ketogenic diet (KD) is becoming more popular due to its promise of quick weight loss. Moreover, other therapeutic uses necessitate that medical professionals should be aware about its applications amongst patients. This study aimed to determine the use, knowledge and perception amongst medical students at An-Najah National University.
Methods: a cross-sectional study has been followed to collect data from students of Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences using electronic questionnaire in October 2020. The questionnaire was consisted of 5 sections regarding; sociodemographic variables, dietary information, usage of KD, knowledge and perceptions toward KD. Differences between KD users and non-users and with associations to knowledge and perceptions were statistically analysed using Chi square. While independent samples t-test and ANOVA test were conducted to examine the differences for the total score of the KD knowledge.
Results: Total respondent were 227 students with 71.8% were females. The mean age was 20±3 and ranged from 18–24-year-old. More than half of the participants have used a kind of diet mainly for weight management with only 7.5 % were using KD for an average of 6 months, half of the students referred to social media as a source of nutritional information while only 25.6% of the participants has attended nutrition related courses at the university. Overall, the students’ knowledge regarding KD was low 3.4 ±3.6 out of 15. However. Faculty of Medicine, third and fourth year of study, KD-user and overweight/obese students have scored significantly higher. The majority of the participants have viewed KD as not easy to be followed and need medical supervision. The relationship between the knowledge score and the perception items has shown significant differences in all perception items. Meaning that positive perception has improved as knowledge has increased.
Conclusion: the results have confirmed that knowledge amongst medical students with regard to KD was low. Sociodemographic variables were not associated with the knowledge scores however, having attended a nutrition course has improved both the knowledge and perception towards KD. Similar studies are warranted to implement nutritional courses in medical curriculum.