Nav: Home

Doctors need nutrition education, says commentary in JAMA Internal Medicine

July 02, 2019

WASHINGTON--Nutrition knowledge is essential for today's physicians, according to a JAMA Internal Medicine commentary published July 1. The commentary--authored by Neal Barnard, MD, president of the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine--points out that overweight, diabetes, heart disease, and many forms of cancer are driven by unhealthful diets, and that most doctors do not have the knowledge to turn this problem around. In a 2018 survey, 61 percent of internal medicine residents reported having little or no training in nutrition.

In the commentary, Dr. Barnard recalls a patient who was hospitalized with a foot infection that was a complication of longstanding diabetes. Although Dr. Barnard notes that with sufficient change in the diet, insulin resistance and diabetes itself can improve and sometimes even disappear, the patient's doctors recommended amputation.

"Although the roots of type 2 diabetes are in the everyday food choices that lead to obesity and insulin resistance, we were ready to amputate, but never started a discussion about improving her diet," writes Dr. Barnard. While 94 percent of resident physicians recognize the importance of diet and feel that nutrition counseling should be part of patient visits, only 14 percent feel trained to offer it.

Research shows that a diet rich in fruits, vegetables, grains, and beans, can help fight heart disease, hypertension, diabetes, and cancer. But just 9.3 percent of U.S. adults meet the daily vegetable intake recommendation, while only 12.2 percent of adults get enough fruit.

Dr. Barnard recommends five steps the medical community can take to address this lack of knowledge about nutrition: (1) Nutrition should be a required part of continuing medical education for physicians everywhere; (2) Doctors should work with registered dietitians; (3) Electronic medical record services should include customizable nutrition questions and handouts; (4) Doctors are role models and should embrace that fact by modeling healthy eating habits; (5) The medical community should support healthier food environments, including in hospitals and schools.

Legislators throughout the U.S. are also calling for nutrition education for physicians. Last month, Washington, D.C., Councilmember Mary Cheh introduced a bill recommending continuing education on nutrition for physicians, nurses, and physician assistants. In New York, lawmakers have introduced similar legislation: A7695/S5887.
-end-
Founded in 1985, the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine is a nonprofit organization that promotes preventive medicine, conducts clinical research, and encourages higher standards for ethics and effectiveness in education and research.

Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine

Related Diabetes Articles:

The role of vitamin A in diabetes
There has been no known link between diabetes and vitamin A -- until now.
Can continuous glucose monitoring improve diabetes control in patients with type 1 diabetes who inject insulin
Two studies in the Jan. 24/31 issue of JAMA find that use of a sensor implanted under the skin that continuously monitors glucose levels resulted in improved levels in patients with type 1 diabetes who inject insulin multiple times a day, compared to conventional treatment.
Complications of type 2 diabetes affect quality of life, care can lead to diabetes burnout
T2D Lifestyle, a national survey by Health Union of more than 400 individuals experiencing type 2 diabetes (T2D), reveals that patients not only struggle with commonly understood complications, but also numerous lesser known ones that people do not associate with diabetes.
Type 2 diabetes and obesity -- what do we really know?
Social and economic factors have led to a dramatic rise in type 2 diabetes and obesity around the world.
A better way to predict diabetes
An international team of researchers has discovered a simple, accurate new way to predict which women with gestational diabetes will develop type 2 diabetes after delivery.
More Diabetes News and Diabetes Current Events

Best Science Podcasts 2019

We have hand picked the best science podcasts for 2019. Sit back and enjoy new science podcasts updated daily from your favorite science news services and scientists.
Now Playing: TED Radio Hour

Anthropomorphic
Do animals grieve? Do they have language or consciousness? For a long time, scientists resisted the urge to look for human qualities in animals. This hour, TED speakers explore how that is changing. Guests include biological anthropologist Barbara King, dolphin researcher Denise Herzing, primatologist Frans de Waal, and ecologist Carl Safina.
Now Playing: Science for the People

#534 Bacteria are Coming for Your OJ
What makes breakfast, breakfast? Well, according to every movie and TV show we've ever seen, a big glass of orange juice is basically required. But our morning grapefruit might be in danger. Why? Citrus greening, a bacteria carried by a bug, has infected 90% of the citrus groves in Florida. It's coming for your OJ. We'll talk with University of Maryland plant virologist Anne Simon about ways to stop the citrus killer, and with science writer and journalist Maryn McKenna about why throwing antibiotics at the problem is probably not the solution. Related links: A Review of the Citrus Greening...