How Much Nutrition Education Does Your Doctor Have?
Have you ever gone to the doctor for your migraines or another health condition, and been completely surprised that they don’t ever ask you about your diet or nutrition? Or perhaps you’ve brought up the topic of food, diet, or supplements, only to have your physician show no interest whatsoever?
Our doctors don’t often think about the way our symptoms relate to our diets and the nutrients in our bodies. And that is because they simply aren’t taught to.
During medical school, future doctors spend an alarmingly small amount of time on the topic of nutrition.
A study from over 100 medical schools showed that most (but not all) required some form of nutrition education. But less than a third of the schools even met the minimum hours set by the National Academy of Sciences. And the results of the study show that on average, medical students received a little less than 20 hours of nutrition instruction over all four years of their education. That equates to less than 5 hours per year spent on this topic.
The authors of the research study even find that number subpar. In their words, “The amount of nutrition education that medical students receive continues to be inadequate.”[*]
It is no surprise, then, that our doctors don’t often look at our symptoms and wonder if our diets and nutrition have something to do with it. Or whether a nutrient imbalance could be causing some of our problems.
They simply are not trained to think in this way. They are not taught to consider the vital role that nutrition plays in our health, and in our health concerns. They don’t have the education that allows or encourages them to do so.
But just because your doctors aren’t taught to address nutrition doesn’t mean you can’t learn to.
We must learn to take responsibility for our own health, and to focus on the role nutrition plays in it. We must keep pushing and keep searching for what might be at the root of our symptoms.
So keep educating yourself, and find healthcare practitioners that get it. Keep looking until you find practitioners that understand nutrition and value its role. Because as we’ve seen here, so many aren’t trained to do so.