Opinion: Nutrition education should be requirement for medical students

Doctors are unequipped to have meaningful conversations with their patients about a leading cause of death in the U.S.—poor diet quality, according to Walter Willett, professor of epidemiology and nutrition at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, and colleagues.

In an October 18, 2019 opinion piece in The Hill, co-authored by Harvard Law School Professor Emily Broad Leib and cardiologist Stephen Devries, Willett sounded the alarm about the need for better nutrition education in medical schools.

The average medical school devotes less than 1% of total lecture hours to nutrition education, according to the authors. They called on policymakers to add nutrition competency to board examinations and residency requirements, and for Congress to make Medicare funding for graduate medical education contingent on the inclusion of nutrition curricula.

“The education of doctors is a critical issue with universal implications for our national health,” they wrote. “By not insisting that physicians receive at least foundational education in nutrition, we produce a medical system that is focused almost exclusively on drugs and devices, and in which the most costly diseases continue to grow.”

Read The Hill article: Our diets are killing us and doctors aren’t trained to help