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Analysis of Nutrition Education in Osteopathic Medical Schools
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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