How Much Nutrition Training Do Doctors Get?

A story from WBEZ Chicago, Cooking up change in American medical schools, explores just how much nutrition education med school students actually receive.

The answer? A shockingly paltry amount:

Only about 30 institutions around the country teach culinary medicine. And according to a 2010 survey, only about 27 percent of all American medical schools teach the 25 hours of nutrition coursework recommended by the National Academy of Science.

This comes at a time when a recent Journal of the American Medical Association study found that dietary quality is the single biggest risk factor for death and disability in the country.

The knowledge gap is wide, but people are working on solutions. Some institutions are offering culinary medicine classes designed to better prepare future doctors to counsel patients on diet and nutrition. Others are advocating for nutrition knowledge as an amendment to the current required curriculum. In the meantime, health professionals such as dietitians, certified diabetes educators, and nurses or nurse practitioners remain a vital source of nutrition guidance for patients.