When I was a medical student, over 10 years ago, we weren’t taught much in the way of nutrition. During the second year, our courses were divided by organ system. The section on nutrition was combined with the study of the gastrointestinal system. The bits that I remember learning mostly evolved around basic physiology of nutrition – protein and fat metabolism, carbohydrate breakdown and the Krebs cycle. I don’t recall learning anything practical or useful.
Of course, I wasn’t ready to hear it then, so even if it was taught, I wasn’t receptive.
It has only been over the last 8 years or so, as I’ve developed my love and respect for food – and for cooking and eating and sharing meals – that I’ve learned the importance of what we put into our bodies. Obviously, I knew nutrition was critical to health, in a very clinical sense, but now I know that it is so much more than that. I’m certainly no expert in nutrition, but I’ve absorbed as much as I can, especially as it relates to cancer promotion and prevention.
My medical school was not unique, and it looks like this is a problem across the face of medical education. I’ve taken an informal poll of the medical school I currently teach in, and I’m told by students that they have an optional one hour online course on nutrition that they can take. If they feel like it.
I’d love to see this change.