Saturday, September 18, 2010

Nutrition Education for Physicians

A recent study published in the September, 2010 issue of Academic Medicine, (the Journal of the Association of American Medical Colleges). titled "Nutrition Education in U.S. Medical Schools: Latest Update of a National Survey" concluded that medical students continue to receive inadequate nutrition education.

A landmark study in the 1980's provided a thorough evaluation of whether physicians were receiving adequate education in nutrition. It concluded the same, and this more recent study was a follow-up of the original one.

Does this sound absurd to anyone else?

It seems that what someone ingests is a huge determinant of their health. Yes, I think it is. Diet, sleep and exercise, I believe, are the top three determinants. Family practice physicians who are counseling their patients on healthy living habits and preventive medicine, I think, would benefit from having the ability to advise them on nutrition needs.

I know my husband will take issue with this. He is going into anesthesiology. He is on the side of curative medicine, not preventive. He says most people don't go to the doctor until after many years of eating poorly, and only when they are experiencing major health complications.

But, couldn't this change, especially if physicians in the U.S. receive more nutrition education and begin talking about it with their patients, from early childhood? Actually, my kids' pediatrician asked them what their favorite vegetables are during their last visit. Maybe things are changing already. But, I am willing to bet that some medical schools will begin adopting nutrition courses due to the findings of this recent study published in Academic Medicine. And, I think it would be a really good thing if they do.


Barb's blessings said...

Don't DOs get more nutritional education since they are trained in a more holistic approach. A lot of DOs end up in family practice. Maybe we all just need to look for a DO as our PCP.

I don't know that most of us see our doctors often enough to rely on them for nutritional advice.

Jen said...

The worst part of it all is in the event the doctor actually refers the patient to a dietitian for nutrition counseling insurance doesn't cover it almost always- how do we expect people to change?