Usually, when people have questions about whether or not something is healthy, they consult their doctor. But what if doctors just don’t know enough about nutrition to give you the best advice?
In a 2010, researchers from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill asked nutrition educators from all 127 accredited medical schools in the United States to report the number of hours of nutrition education offered to medical students. The results were simply shocking, showing that medical students receive unsatisfactory amounts of nutrition education and that most medical schools fail to even give medical students the recommended 25 hours of nutrition instruction.
Only 25% of medical schools required an actual nutrition course, and in 2004, medical students received an average of 22.3 hours of nutrition instruction. Only 27% of medical schools met the minimum requirements of 25 hours of nutritional education, a decrease from 40% only six years earlier, in 2004.
In another study from 2009 (video included below), only about eight out of 10 doctors surveyed thought more nutrition education was even necessary, a decrease from 2004, when nine out of 10 doctors thought more nutrition education was necessary. The study concluded that doctors think they know enough about nutrition, but actually don’t — with the average medical student’s score being lower than an “F.”
The study asked doctors a list of basic questions about diet and cardiovascular disease, with the average test score being lower than a fail grade of 64%. For example, 71% of medical students incorrectly answered that avocados contain cholesterol, when in fact they do not.
Some say that the reason for this is because doctors are trained in medical school to treat disease with drugs and antibiotics, with drugs and antibiotics offering a “quick fix” which make both the patient and doctor feel better.
According to Dr. Kristie Leong, doctors feel better when they can see immediate improvements in patients, and feel inadequate without seeing quick results. Poor knowledge about nutrition and a lack of nutritional education in medical school can also play a part in this decision to prescribe drugs.
The Inquisitr readers: Do these studies change your mind about your doctor’s knowledge about nutrition? Do you think medical schools should require more hours of nutrition education? Will you continue to ask your doctor’s opinion about food and proper nutrition advice?