Nutritional Education in Medical School

July 8, 2015

A recent study by the Journal of the American Medical Association concluded that what we eat ranks as the single most important factor in premature death and disease.

If you live a mindful, healthful lifestyle the results of this study probably don’t surprise you. What we eat effects every part of daily life, from mood to metabolism, it’s all about nutrition.

Unfortunately, few medical doctors are properly trained in nutrition. In fact, only around 25% of allopathic medical schools across the nation offer nutritional training.

David Eisenberg, with the Harvard School of Public Health said, ”I don’t think we could have predicted that health care professionals would need to know so much more about nutrition,” he says. “Nor did we expect that we’d need to know more about movement and exercise or being mindful in the way we live our lives or eat or how to change behaviors.”

With soaring obesity and diabetes rates, the need for nutritional awareness has never been greater. But this is not a new phenomena.

The inadequacy of nutritional training in allopathic medical education has been an issue of growing concern for the better part of the 20th century. In 1985 an in-depth report by the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) accurately shed light on the nutrition education deficiency.

Twenty years later, we have not seen much change in this topic. As stated by the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition:

“Practicing physicians continually rate their nutrition knowledge and skills as inadequate and more than half of graduating medical students report that the time dedicated to nutrition instruction is inadequate.”

However, there is a light at the end of the tunnel!  There are a few doctors that are proactively seeking change. Dr. Oyola and Dr. Maker-Clark have launched a pilot course based on culinary medicine at Tulane Univerisity. They each studied nutrition on their own, separate from their medical education and hope to change that for future students.

But what if you don’t want to wait for a slow (out of date) system to adjust to your needs today?  The good news is there are numerous alternatives available.  Here at The Spring, Center for Natural Medicine we offer comprehensive nutritional guidance and support.  If you are not in the Austin area look for a Naturopathic Doctor (ND),Certified Clinical Nutritionist (CCN), or Licensed Acupuncturist (LAc) – all of which are well educated in nutrition.

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