The state of nutrition in medical education in the United States

Nutr Rev. 2020 Sep 1;78(9):764-780. doi: 10.1093/nutrit/nuz100.


Despite the significant impact diet has on health, there is minimal nutrition training for medical students. This review summarizes published nutrition learning experiences in US medical schools and makes recommendations accordingly. Of 902 articles, 29 met inclusion criteria, describing 30 learning experiences. Nutrition learning experiences were described as integrated curricula or courses (n = 10, 33%), sessions (n = 17, 57%), or electives (n = 3, 10%). There was heterogeneity in the teaching and assessment methods utilized. The most common was lecture (n = 21, 70%), often assessed through pre- and/or postsurveys (n = 19, 79%). Six studies (26%) provided experience outcomes through objective measures, such as exam or standardized patient experience scores, after the nutrition learning experience. This review revealed sparse and inconsistent data on nutrition learning experiences. However, based on the extant literature, medical schools should build formal nutrition objectives, identify faculty and physician leadership in nutrition education, utilize preexisting resources, and create nutrition learning experiences that can be applied to clinical practice.

Keywords: medical education; nutrition; nutrition education.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Curriculum
  • Education, Medical*
  • Humans
  • Nutritional Sciences / education*
  • United States