Nutrition Education in Medical Schools: Trends and Implications for Health Educators
Schulman, Jessica A.
- Publisher: Co-Action Publishing
Medical Education Online
(issn: 1087-2981, eissn: 1087-2981)
With 20% of deaths in the U.S. attributed to improper diet and lack of exercise, renewed interest has emerged in nutrition education for medical professionals. Sociopolitical factors are exerting a profound influence on changes in medical curricula, moving medicine away from traditional biomedical curricula and toward more comprehensive programs of study. This paper explores how public demand for nutrition information, inadequate nutrition training among physicians, changes in health care, and medical education reform are influencing the evolution of nutrition in medical schools. This paper also discusses barriers, possible solutions, and specific actions for health educators. To achieve nutrition-literacy among prospective physicians, the following elements must be developed and established: 1) adequate organizational and administrative supports, 2) continuity in credentialing nutrition specialists, 3) innovative nutrition curricula, 4) committed faculty nutrition mentors, 5) clear nutrition education goals, 6) methods for evaluation of program activities/outcomes, 7) substantive research agenda, 8) multidisciplinary medical curricula, and 9) collaboration.