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Why Doctors Need To Know About Nutrition – The Educators’ Perspectives

Discover the importance of including nutrition courses in the medical school curriculum for training doctors.
Interestingly, medical students are very well trained in recognise diseases and treat them correctly, but there’s still a deficit in medical education regarding the teaching of nutrition, and connected to this, disease prevention. In general, medical students do not study nutrition, and I find this very, very surprising, because proper diet and lifestyle are the major contributors to human health. As in the Netherlands, medical students only receive two hours of training throughout their whole educational programme, and this is very much through their own disliking. Therefore, they organised themselves nationally to design evening courses on the role of nutrition and health and disease.
As an Educator here our medical school here in Italy, I’m also well aware that not enough emphasis is given during our classes when refer to explore the way diet and lifestyle can affect our health. It is time now to recognise that food and nutrition are not just a marginal problem, but really represent the core of our health. I think is a strong link between food, nutrition, health, and sustainability. In fact, these four terms can be gathered in the definition of sustainable health, which is a healthy and active ageing, avoiding the risk of diseases. The link between food, health, nutrition, and sustainability is becoming more and more evident in the last decade.
In addition to well-known examples such as diabetes or obesity more and more studies are showing a relevant connection between nutrition and cardiovascular diseases, but also cancer and other clinical pictures. We need to cultivate our food in a sustainable way. We need to select the best food items. Based on what? Based on basic research, and on clinical research We need to find out what’s the best diet for human health, what are the best ingredients, what are the most active ingredients, and then we need to grow them in a sustainable way. So there’s a very strong link between the food we eat, how we grow it, and how it affects our health. This is another challenge for our days.
So, when thinking of the link among food, health, nutrition, and sustainability, the goal is now to bring action from an individual level to a collective perspective. Medical doctors and practitioners and general– physicians in general are at the forefront, at the interface between the research, between science and health and medicine. So it’s very important that they get very well trained in nutrition, in basic research, but also in the way to communicate data to their patients. In our opinion, the doctors are the best change makers of the eating habits. Well, why? Because people believe in their knowledge on health. It is important that doctors understand the link between diet and disease, and take this into account in their daily work.
The close relationship of trust between medical doctor and patient helps to inform and advise people to change, or even optimise their eating habits in order to achieve a healthy lifestyle.

In this video, you’ll meet your educators based all over Europe and hear how they perceive the place of nutrition in the current medical doctor curricula, as well as their views on the role medical practitioners could play in the future.

In order of appearance on screen, you will hear the thoughts of Dr. Venturelli from Germany, Dr. Visioli from Italy, Dr. van Zutphen from the Netherlands, Dr. Sciascia from Italy, Dr. Iriondo-DeHond & Dr. del Castillo from Spain.

Please note that due to Covid-19, all our video contributors had to self-record themselves using a laptop or smartphone. As a result, the audio quality is not optimal. We apologise for the inconvenience. Should you want to better understand the video content, we have provided the English audio transcript in the Downloads section below.


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Nutrition for Health and Sustainability

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