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Analysis of Nutrition Education in Osteopathic Medical Schools


Affiliations
1 College of Osteopathic Medicine, Pacific Northwest University of Health Sciences, 200 University Pkwy, Yakima, WA 98901, United States
2 Department of Nutrition, School of Medicine and Gillings School of Global Public Health, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, 800 Eastowne Drive, Suite 100, ChapelHill, NC 27514, United States
 

Purpose: Describe nutrition education at US colleges of osteopathic medicine; determine if it meets recommended levels. Method: We surveyed 30 US colleges of osteopathic medicine (USCOM) with a four-year curriculum about the amount and form of required nutrition education during the 2012/13 academic year. The online survey asked about hours of required nutrition across all 4 years and also in what types of courses this instruction occurred. We performed descriptive statistics to analyze the data. Results: Twenty six institutions (87% response rate) completed the survey. Most responding US COM(22/26, 85%) do not meet the recommended minimum 25 hours of nutrition education; 8 (31%) provide less than half as much. Required nutrition instruction is largely confined to preclinical courses, with an average of 15.7 hours. Only 7 of the 26 responding schools report teaching clinical nutrition practice, providing on average 4.1 hours. Conclusions: Most US COM are inadequately preparing osteopathic physicians for the challenges they will face in practice addressing the nutritional concerns of their patients. Doctors of osteopathy cannot be expected to properly treat patients or guide the prevention of cardiovascular disease, obesity, cancer, diabetes, and metabolic syndrome if they are not trained to identify and modify the contributing lifestyle factors.
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  • Analysis of Nutrition Education in Osteopathic Medical Schools

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Authors

Kathaleen Briggs Early
College of Osteopathic Medicine, Pacific Northwest University of Health Sciences, 200 University Pkwy, Yakima, WA 98901, United States
Kelly M. Adams
Department of Nutrition, School of Medicine and Gillings School of Global Public Health, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, 800 Eastowne Drive, Suite 100, ChapelHill, NC 27514, United States
Martin Kohlmeier
Department of Nutrition, School of Medicine and Gillings School of Global Public Health, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, 800 Eastowne Drive, Suite 100, ChapelHill, NC 27514, United States

Abstract


Purpose: Describe nutrition education at US colleges of osteopathic medicine; determine if it meets recommended levels. Method: We surveyed 30 US colleges of osteopathic medicine (USCOM) with a four-year curriculum about the amount and form of required nutrition education during the 2012/13 academic year. The online survey asked about hours of required nutrition across all 4 years and also in what types of courses this instruction occurred. We performed descriptive statistics to analyze the data. Results: Twenty six institutions (87% response rate) completed the survey. Most responding US COM(22/26, 85%) do not meet the recommended minimum 25 hours of nutrition education; 8 (31%) provide less than half as much. Required nutrition instruction is largely confined to preclinical courses, with an average of 15.7 hours. Only 7 of the 26 responding schools report teaching clinical nutrition practice, providing on average 4.1 hours. Conclusions: Most US COM are inadequately preparing osteopathic physicians for the challenges they will face in practice addressing the nutritional concerns of their patients. Doctors of osteopathy cannot be expected to properly treat patients or guide the prevention of cardiovascular disease, obesity, cancer, diabetes, and metabolic syndrome if they are not trained to identify and modify the contributing lifestyle factors.