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

Learn why this group of medical students think nutritional courses are important in the medical school curriculum.
Nutrition is very briefly mentioned in our medical curriculum. We have one subject of about 10 hours collectively that focuses on clinical nutrition. Therefore, it’s impossible to equip us with all the necessary information. I’m happy to say that nutrition is included in my medical curriculum. It’s actually part of two different courses that we got, biochemistry and community medicine as well. However, I would say that it lacks the practical aspects of nutrition. A lot of my training was very clinical, and we looked at the clinical competence of nutrition, which I think limits our understanding of the broader impacts and broader interlinkages between nutrition with, for example, sustainability. At no point in our curriculum we talked about that.
I believe that nutrition is as important as the prescription of drugs. And we need to learn about it in more details, especially throughout our whole curriculum and not just as a separate module. I believe that the lack of training in nutrition for medical students can have terrible consequences for our future patients. Lifestyle modifications should be applied in almost every treatment process. Unfortunately, due to lack of training, a lot of doctors feel unqualified to suggest specific changes. What I think is lacking in the medical curricula is that we have this very restricted perspective. We look at the health of an individual and then the food. they have to eat to promote their own individual health.
But when we look at it in a broader, in a systems view, in a systems level view, we can see that we can potentialize the impact that we have on the health of our patients by also addressing the plan to health related issues. And this will increase the impact we have, if we take into account the food systems that we promote sustainable diets. And I think this is what’s lacking in our medical curriculum is this perspective that everything is linked and that we can have a bigger impact if we address these issues. As doctors, we are the second most trusted profession after nurses.
So as a health care community, we need to be part of advocating for a healthy and sustainable diet. I think that medical doctors should play the role of advocates and change makers by informing, educating, and influencing their patients to change their eating habits. This should be looked at as a form of treatment, especially being the most accessible, affordable, and also the least invasive one. As medical students, we are the future health workforce. As health care professionals, we have a duty to our patients, but also to our communities.
And that is why we need to learn how to not just treat our patients, but promote the health of the societies that we live in and promote the health of the environment and the ecosystems that sustains us.

In this video, you’ll meet a group of medical students from all around the world and hear how they perceive the place of nutrition in their curricula, as well as their views on the role medical doctors could play in the future.

Once you’ve heard from the group, we would like to know your views on your current curriculum? Do you receive sufficient training in nutrition?

We would also love to hear your view on the role of doctors as agents of change and how doctors could have an impact on their patients by suggesting lifestyle interventions.

We’d very much like to thank all the students who took part in this video for allowing us to share their thoughts. In order of appearance on screen, thanks to Agata from Poland, Mohamed from Sudan, Poorva from India, Omnia from Egypt, and Imane from Canada.

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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