If you have been living in a cave and don’t read the news, we are in the midst of a global obesity epidemic. Also, obesity can lead to so many different diseases, ranging from diabetes to cardiovascular disease to cancer to many mental health issues. And if you didn’t realize it, what you eat affects your health. Oh, and doctors deal with health and disease. Nothing new, right? Why then are many medical schools still failing to teach enough about obesity and nutrition?
Yes, failing. Studies have confirmed that medical students are starved of nutrition and obesity education. For example, a study published in Academic Medicine found that in 2008-2009 only 27% of 105 medical schools met the minimum 25 required hours of nutrition education set by the National Academy of Sciences, which was actually down from 38% in 2004 (40 out of 104 schools based on another study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition). Yes, this number actually went down while the obesity epidemic went up. Another study published in the International Journal of Adolescent Medicine and Health gave a medical or osteopathic school graduates who were just entering a pediatric residency program an 18-item nutrition questionnaire. On average, the new graduates could only answer 52% of the questions. That’s a failing grade even with grade inflation.
Add to these studies many anecdotes and other quick informal polls such as the following conducted by Neil Floch, M.D., director of bariatric surgery at Norwalk Hospital, on Twitter:
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