Study: Only 12 Percent of Medical Students Aware of Key Nutritional Guidelines, Yet 55 Percent Confident in Counseling Patients
Of particular note, only 12 percent were aware of Dietary Reference Intakes (DRIs), a key guide to differentiated nutrition requirements, although more than 68 percent agreed that primary care physicians should counsel patients about nutrition.
"There is a long-standing disconnect in medicine. Nutrition is understood to be integral to overall health, but it is not given serious attention in physician education," said
Prior research has shown that physicians who are overly confident are less likely to seek additional resources and more likely to misdiagnose patients. Researchers expressed concern that overconfident medical students may not attempt to further understand or explore important nutritional recommendations when treating patients in the future.
Beverly and her co-authors recommend developing nutrition-related competencies, as well as including nutrition questions on board certification examinations, to help ensure that schools adhere to the minimum number of hours of nutrition education.
"Medical schools are focused on preparing students to pass board certification exams. Currently, nutrition knowledge is not evaluated by most certification boards," says Beverly. "If we can change that, schools will adjust their curriculum accordingly and we should ultimately see an improvement in patient education and care."
The complete study can be found at jaoa.org.
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