Medical students in the UK are complaining they currently learn almost nothing about the way diet and lifestyle affect health and say they should be taught more. They also say what they are currently being taught is not practical or relevant to most of the medical problems they see in GP surgeries, clinics, and hospitals.
For years now, most medical schools around the world have taught aspiring doctors shamefully little about nutrition. Illustrating this, an academic survey published in 2010 found that medical students in the United States receive an average of only 19.6 hours of nutritional education throughout their entire four years of undergraduate training. This effectively corresponds to less than 1 percent of their total estimated lecture hours. Even more worryingly, of the 109 medical schools that took part in this academic survey, four offered only optional nutritional instruction; one reported it did not offer any such tuition; and the respondent for one apparently couldn’t supply an answer to the question. Given the absence of such training, it is hardly surprising that the nutritional quality of food served in most hospitals essentially amounts to medical negligence. Without doubt, this situation has undoubtedly led to millions of wholly avoidable patient deaths worldwide.
It is therefore good to see, as this BBC report suggests, that in some medical schools things may slowly now be beginning to change. And in a further promising sign, the British Medical Journal recently announced it will shortly launch a new journal on the science and politics of nutrition. Towards our Foundation’s primary goal of a globally implemented preventive system of healthcare based on nutritional and Cellular Medicine approaches, such developments are small but essential steps in the right direction.