A new study has claimed nutrition is insufficiently incorporated into medical education worldwide, meaning medical students lack the confidence, skills and knowledge to provide nutritional care to patients.
The review, published in The Lancet Planetary Health, examined studies assessing recently graduated or current medical students’ nutrition knowledge, attitudes, skills and/or confidence in nutrition or nutrition counselling; the quality of nutrition curriculum initiatives for medical students; or students’ perceptions of nutrition education. Data from 24 studies were included.
The reviewed studies consistently found that nutrition is insufficiently incorporated into medical education, regardless of country, setting or year of medical education.
The authors have now recommended that nutrition education be made compulsory for all medical students, a global benchmark on the required level of nutrition knowledge for future doctors be established and more funding be put towards developing new ways to teach nutrition in medical school.
“Nutritional education for medical students must be improved and made a compulsory and meaningful part of the curriculum to support future doctors for the 21st century,” said author Dr Lauren Ball from Griffith University, Australia.