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A medical student calls for increased nutrition education for doctors

Article / Review by on December 2, 2011 – 7:02 pmNo Comments

A medical student calls for increased nutrition education for doctors

A medical student calls for increased nutrition education for doctors

In a post on KevinMD today, a medical student shares his concerns that nutrition education in U.S. medical schools is lacking and that many physicians don’t have the knowledge to effectively counsel patients about obesity and related health conditions. He writes:

We may study biochemistry and what happens to the components of food we eat, but we study very little about dietary choices and how to advise our patients. In the hospital, we consult the dieticians when we need to make decisions about what exactly to feed our patients. When patients ask us questions about diet and nutrition, we often deliver vapid, cookie-cutter answers that (rightfully) go in one ear and out the other.

This is absurd. We are in the middle of an obesity epidemic that’s not only making us sick as individuals, but weakening us as a nation. Nutrition is intimately involved in the pathogenesis, and sometimes (but not often enough) treatment, of chronic disease. I hope this is one aspect of medical education that is reformed in the near future, because I feel it’s hurting us in ways we may not even recognize.

Previous research has showed only a quarter of U.S. medical schools have a course dedicated to the subject and a significant number of young doctors rate their nutritional knowledge as inadequate.

By Lia Steakley
Stanford University Medical Center

Photo by Christophe Laurent

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* Stanford University Medical Center integrates research, medical education and patient care at its three institutions – Stanford University School of Medicine, Stanford Hospital & Clinics and Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital.

**  The above story is adapted from materials provided by Stanford University School of Medicine

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