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Nutrition in Medical Education: History, Current Status, and Resources

Daghigh, Farzaneh PhD; Vettori, David J. DO; Harris, Jeffrey DrPH, MPH, RD, LDN

Topics in Clinical Nutrition:
doi: 10.1097/TIN.0b013e318219318d
Education Evaluations
Abstract

There is a 3-fold purpose to this article. First, a historical perspective on nutrition in medical education is addressed. Second, a case study of medical student perceptions about nutrition in their medical education is presented. Finally, resources are recommended for enhancing the provision of nutrition in medical education. Since the 1950s, there has been an acknowledged lack of nutrition in medical education. Efforts have been made to enhance this type of education over the years and achieve the National Academy of Sciences minimum recommended 25 hours of nutrition education. However, a 2006 survey of medical schools by the National Institutes of Health demonstrated that nutrition education remains inadequate at an average of 23.9 hours. The authors have provided a description of osteopathic medical students at a single institution to evaluate the current state of nutrition in their curriculum and explore resources as well as recommendations for improving nutrition education. Students generally perceived nutrition education as being inadequate with only 15 hours of nutrition. Students made several suggestions to enrich the curriculum with nutrition. Various resources exist for strengthening nutrition education including example curricula and resources from institutions that received the Nutrition Academic Award and Nutrition in Medicine from the University of North Carolina.

Author Information

Department of Biochemistry/Molecular Biology, Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (Drs Daghigh and Vettori); and College of Health Sciences, West Chester University, West Chester, Pennsylvania (Dr Harris).

Correspondence: Farzaneh Daghigh, PhD, Department of Biochemistry/Molecular Biology, Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine, 4170 City Ave, Philadelphia, PA 19131 (farzanehd@pcom.edu).

The authors thank Mrs Danielle Cavanaugh and Mr Douglas Koch for their help in collecting data.

© 2011 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.