“The Association for Nutrition in the UK has developed a new undergraduate nutrition curriculum designed to create future doctors who will understand and recognize the role of nutrition in health.” [Source: nutraingredients.com]
Given that most UK medical schools generally provide little or no comprehensive education in nutrition, this new initiative is clearly very much needed. Unfortunately, however, the UK is far from being alone in neglecting the nutritional education of its medical students.
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 four years of 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 the 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.
The provision of nutrition education in Japanese medical schools is also inadequate. Of 67 schools surveyed in 2009, only 11 seemed to dedicate more than 5 hours to substantial nutrition education in their syllabus. Worse still, 6 medical schools did not offer any nutrition education to their students at all.
Studies have similarly shown that the provision of nutrition education is inadequate in European, Australian, West African, and Latin American medical schools, among others. This is clearly not in the best interests of either medical students themselves or the patients they will eventually be treating. Notably, therefore, research in Canada has found that a significant number of medical students are dissatisfied with the nutrition education they receive and their ability to provide relevant and appropriate nutrition counselling.
To read more on the subject of nutritional education in medical schools, see this article on our website.