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Nutritional Education in Medical Schools

It is an open fact that there is a close relation between diet and the overall well being of individuals. In the US healthcare system, primary care providers usually have patients’ primary contact. Registered dieticians (RD) usually have extremely little primary contact with patients. Therefore, it is critical for primary care providers to have ample nutritional knowledge, as this would significantly improve patients’ health. The sad fact is that medical schools offer very little nutritional education to medical students. This makes medical students not be well equipped to offer nutritional advice, albeit a little, to their patients. Failure to offer medical students enough nutritional information poses serious risks to people’s health as various diseases are linked to nutrition.

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One of the main factors that make students receive very little nutritional education is the integration of nutrition into the general curriculum offered to medical students. This reduces emphasis that trainers give nutrition by pushing nutritional education to the periphery. However, the importance of nutrition on health demands that all medical schools should have courses dedicated to nutrition.

Research by Adams et al (2006) found that very few schools in the United States dedicate enough time on nutrition education. Medical schools should dedicate a minimum of 25 hours for nutritional education. From the research, only 27 percent of schools meet the basic minimum hours of nutritional education. The alarming fact is that the number of schools that are offering enough nutritional education is declining. Previous research by Adams et al showed that 38 percent of schools dedicated enough hours for nutritional education (Schaeffer, 2011). However, there is a raging debate as to how many hours of nutritional education are enough. Despite this debate, what is clear is that there is a decline in nutritional education and the importance that trainers give nutritional education. The US government should come up with measures that would increase the amount of nutritional education. One such measure is offering rebates to schools to encourage them to offer nutritional education.

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