INITIAL TRAINING OF MEDICAL STUDENTS AND AWARENESS OF THE BENEFITS OF SPORT AS A PREVENTIVE HEALTH MEASURE
About this paper:
Conference name: 16th International Technology, Education and Development Conference
Dates: 7-8 March, 2022
Location: Online Conference
Abstract:In the Wallonia-Brussels Federation of Belgium, the training of the future general practitioners differs greatly from one university to another in terms of health prevention awareness and prescription of physical activities. Some students are made aware of these issues in their Bachelor's courses, while others are trained during their master's cycle or as part of continuing education (UCLOUVAIN, n.d.; ULB, n.d.). However, general practitioners play an important educational role with their patients in order to reduce the risk of non-communicable diseases (stroke, diabetes, cancer) and the associated mortality rate (Bassuk & Manson, 2005; Leitzmann et al., 2007; Aquatias et al., 2008; WHO, 2010, 2017). It is therefore essential that initial training provides them with the necessary skills to achieve this professional goal but many physicians do not feel adequately trained to provide advice on physical activity practice (Doumont & Feuilien, 2013; Bloy et al., 2016; Peleias et al., 2017; Lucas & Kozlowski, 2019).
In our research, we interviewed 328 medical students from the 5 universities of the Wallonia-Brussels Federation of Belgium (239 women, 82 men, and 2 people reporting another gender identity ). They were between 18 and 34 years old and were enrolled in one of the six annual education units of the university curriculum. Three tools were used to collect the data: an anamnestic questionnaire, the International Physical Activity Questionnaire - Short Form (IPAQ) by Craig et al. (2003), and a self-administered opinion questionnaire. Our results show that 77.13% (253/328) of the students participate in sports activities and that the majority of them globally respect the World Health Organization recommendations in terms of physical activity, especially the students of the higher years. They recognize the benefits of physical activity but have little specific knowledge of its positive effects on health and of the WHO recommendations themselves. They consider the physician as an actor in the promotion of physical activity, are aware of their future role in prevention (84.81%; 311/328), and would like to advise their patients to practice physical activity (64.02%; 210/328). However, they consider that health promotion was not very much covered in their university courses and they do not feel sufficiently trained in prevention (84.15%, 276/328).
Our results highlight the necessity of better educating medical students about the many benefits of physical activity and the importance of promoting it to their patients. Lack of information during training may inhibit physicians from correctly providing physical activity counseling (Moussard Philippon, 2013; Gérin et al., 2015). Indeed, it is essential that students receive specific training based on the specialty they choose because physical activity plays an essential preventive and curative role in treating many diseases (Sajn et al., 2020; Boka et al., 2021).
Keywords: Medical Students Training, Health Education, Sports Education.