Docs, patients need more education on healthy eating

Doctor patient

Thirty-six percent of Americans are obese, despite the fact that 75 percent say they eat healthy, reports National Public Radio.

Experts told NPR that a likely culprit is portion size: people may be eating healthy foods, but are eating too much. Patients may not be fully aware of what constitutes a healthy meal or appropriate serving, according to the article, and translating these topics into patients' checkups is critical, according to an article from The Washington Post.

“Food touches our patients in so many conditions--diabetes, celiac disease, food allergies, high blood pressure--we need more education about food and nutrition so we can be better physicians,” Timothy Harlan, M.D., a practicing internist and associate dean for clinical services at Tulane University School of Medicine, told The Post

Until recently, most medical schools devoted only a few days over the course of a four-year curriculum to the impact of nutrition on wellness and staving off disease progression, according to the Chicago Tribune.

But that’s changing. For example, Tulane University created the Goldring Center for Culinary Medicine, a first-of-its-kind teaching kitchen where future doctors learn how to cook and provide advice on healthy eating to patients, The Post reports. Instructors in these classes translate traditional medical school courses such as anatomy, biochemistry and physiology into real-world conversations that physicians can have with their patients during check-ups, according to the Tribune.

How to help doctors whose years in medical school are behind them? The University of Arizona Center for Integrative Medicine teaches practicing physicians about gluten-free diets and sustainable food systems at its Nutrition & Health Conference, according to The Post. The medical school’s most popular continuing medical education course teaches doctors about the anti-inflammatory diet, Victoria Maizes, M.D., executive director of the center, told the newspaper.

- read the NPR article
- read the Chicago Tribune article
- read The Washington Post article