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Updated: Jul 28, 2023

The Lack of Adequate Nutrition Education in Medical Schools

Did you know most doctors receive less than 14 hours of nutrition education during medical school?

While the the accrediting organization for U.S. medical schools, Liaison Committee on Medical Education, recommends 25 hours of nutrition education during medical school, 71% of schools surveyed in a 2014 study failed to meet these standards, with many schools providing less than half of this!

As a daughter of physicians, I’m not coming for docs by any means, but let’s be clear...doctors are not nutrition experts.

There’s a reason physicians work closely with dietitians in hospital settings as well as outpatient management of patients with diabetes, chronic kidney disease, gastrointestinal issues, cancer, and so much more...we ARE the experts.

Even if a doctor does seek additional education to deepen their understanding of nutrition, the role of nutrition in managing chronic disease, and in supporting a healthy lifestyle, they are generally strapped for time and not able to provide thorough nutrition recommendations in their patient visits.

Good physicians recognize this and refer out to dietitians for nutrition education, interventions, and management. Through this multidisciplinary approach, we can provide better patient care and outcomes.

However many don’t make the proper referral and their patients bank on their half baked nutrition recommendations, treating it as gospel.

Meanwhile, dietitians receive intensive education and training in nutrition. We also specialize in managing certain conditions or types of populations so that we can focus on expanding and solidifying our knowledge and expertise in this area.

Next time you visit your doc and they make a nutrition recommendation, consider working with a dietitian who can provide the proper education and support you in implementing any changes.

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