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Nutr Clin Pract. 2010 Oct;25(5):471-80. doi: 10.1177/0884533610379606.

Nutrition in medicine: nutrition education for medical students and residents.

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Department of Nutrition, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, NC 27599-7461, USA.


Proper nutrition plays a key role in disease prevention and treatment. Many patients understand this link and look to physicians for guidance diet and physical activity. Actual physician practice, however, is often inadequate in addressing the nutrition aspects of diseases such as cancer, obesity, and diabetes. Physicians do not feel comfortable, confident, or adequately prepared to provide nutrition counseling, which may be related to suboptimal knowledge of basic nutrition science facts and understanding of potential nutrition interventions. Historically, nutrition education has been underrepresented at many medical schools and residency programs. Our surveys over a decade show that most medical schools in the United States are still not ensuring adequate nutrition education, and they are not producing graduates with the nutrition competencies required in medical practice. Physicians, residents, and medical students clearly need more training in nutrition assessment and intervention. The Nutrition in Medicine (NIM) project, established to develop and distribute a core nutrition curriculum for medical students, offers a comprehensive online set of courses free of charge to medical schools. The NIM medical school curriculum is widely used in the United States and abroad. A new initiative, Nutrition Education for Practicing Physicians, offers an innovative online medical nutrition education program for residents and other physicians-in-training, but with targeted, practice-based educational units designed to be completed in 15 minutes or less. The NIM project is strengthening medical nutrition practice by providing a free, comprehensive, online nutrition curriculum with clinically relevant, evidence-based medical education for undergraduate and postgraduate learners.

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