Even though most of the chronic diseases people face are related to poor diet, medical school training focuses largely on drugs, surgical procedures and other reactionary interventions instead. In fact, some medical schools do not even teach a single course in nutrition.
Back in the mid-1980s, the National Academy of Sciences published a report about the lack of nutrition education in medical schools, and advised that such schools begin offering at least 25 hours in nutrition education to their students. But a recent study published in Academic Medicine, a Journal of the Association of American Medical College, reveals that conditions have either remained unchanged or actually gotten worse.
Researchers from the University of North Carolina (UNC) at Chapel Hill found that the average number of nutrition education hours offered by most medical colleges today has actually dropped by nearly half since six years ago. Today, only 25 percent of medical schools even offer the minimum recommended number of hours in nutrition education.
“Nutrition is really a core component of modern medical practice,” emphasized Kelly M. Adams, registered dietitian at UNC and lead author of the study. “[Students] aren’t getting enough [nutrition] instruction while in medical school.”
For the past 15 years, UNC has been offering an online- and CD-ROM-based program that students can used to supplement their medical education. While the program has helped some, many medical school students still end up graduating with dismal knowledge in proper nutrition.
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