Capacity building in nutrition science: revisiting the curricula for medical professionals

Ann N Y Acad Sci. 2013 Dec:1306:21-40. doi: 10.1111/nyas.12334.


The current nutrition education curricula for students in U.S. medical schools, and schools of other health professions, such as nursing and oral health, do not provide enough opportunity to gain knowledge of the interactions among micro- and macronutrients, their role in maintaining optimal body functions, factors that interfere with these interactions, or, importantly, how to integrate this knowledge into medical practice. There is a need to better prepare healthcare professionals for identifying nutrition risk and managing hospitalized patients, especially those with chronic conditions, using an interprofessional, team-based approach. A major goal of this report is to revisit current nutrition training programs for physicians and other healthcare professionals in order to explore opportunities for providing healthcare providers with the essential tools of preventative and therapeutic nutrition intervention strategies. The issues addressed include whether a consensus exists on how to integrate basic and applied nutrition into the general healthcare professional curriculum, and if so, at which stages of training and at what depth should these integrations occur; how nutrition education is dealt with and achieved throughout all the health professions; and whether current nutrition education models are sufficient. To help address these issues, the report will review current nutrition education practices-their strengths and weaknesses-as well as evaluate promising new initiatives, and offer proposals for new directions for nutrition education training of future generation of medical practitioners.

Keywords: curriculum; dentist; dietician; education; health professions; medical school; nurse; nutrition; physician.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Diet Therapy / methods*
  • Education, Medical, Continuing*
  • Education, Medical, Graduate*
  • Humans
  • Nutritional Sciences / education*
  • Nutritional Sciences / trends
  • Schools, Medical
  • United States