What Do Medical Doctors in America Know About Nutrition?
April 4, 2018
How a Lack of Nutritional Education Affects Medical Practice
“In the United States, most deaths are preventable and related to nutrition,” says Michael Greger, M.D. author and public health speaker. If this is so, why medical doctors in the United States are not educated about nutrition so that they can save more lives?
It is lack of a rich nutritional diet that causes most chronic illnesses, diseases, and of course some acute conditions such as obesity. When people become ill, they rely on their medical doctor for guidance. Therefore, medical doctors in America should know the impact of nutritional problems and make nutrition an important part of their daily duty. According to Greger’s statement, it makes one wonder what these doctors really know about nutrition.
How Much About Nutrition is Taught in U.S. Medical Schools?
- A survey was conducted in 2010 which shows that medical schools in America only offer an average of 19.6% of nutritional studies out of a total of 4 years medical studies, according to Stacy Colino, contributor to U.S. Health News.
- A 2016 report from the International Journal of Adolescent Medicine and Health reveals that medical doctors in a pediatric residency program appear to lack basic nutritional knowledge.
- Out of the 179 Medical schools that are in America, only 29 of them offer the recommended 25 hours of nutrition education.
Based on the above statistics, it appears as if medical doctors are on their own to learn about nutritional problems and the symptoms. Maybe it’s the only way they will be able to assist their patients. Otherwise, they will have to refer patients to relevant nutrition professionals.
How Confident are U.S. Doctors with Clinical Nutritional Skills?
Not very confident. In fact, researchers have found out that many medical doctors in America are skeptical about their clinical nutritional skills, especially when attending to their obese and overweight patients such as children.
The truth is that, these doctors know about the importance of nutrition but due to deficiency in their training it makes them feel uncomfortable to hold nutritional discussions with their patients.
How can Nutritional Education for Medical Doctors Improve?
In a study, several authors suggested that medical schools should create courses on nutrition, self-care, and life skills to teach and equip medical students with skills that they can impart to their patients. Additionally, nutrition practices can be combined with preclinical subjects which will open the way for medical students to address nutritional factors that contribute to a healthy lifestyle.
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