Physicians are often our first expert resource when it comes to making healthy choices among the American eating habits. According to JAMA Internal Medicine, it is critical for doctors to have a strong understanding of nutrition.

Doctors Need Information to Change American Eating Habits

Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine president, Neal Barnard, MD, wrote a commentary in JAMA Internal Medicine. It stated that heart disease, weight issues, diabetes and some types of cancers are driven by the average American eating habits.

Unhealthful food consumption is problematic, particularly as the majority of doctors don’t have the knowledge required to change this trend. In fact, a survey of internal medicine residents conducted in 2018 showed that 61 percent felt they had little to no nutrition training.

The Difference Healthy Foods Make

Extensive research studies have pointed out the types of changes needed in American eating habits.  The average person needs to consume more fruits, vegetables, whole grains and beans.  These foods help combat hypertension, heart disease, diabetes and some kinds of cancer. 

Only 9.3 percent of U.S. adults are consuming the recommended number of vegetables in the average day.  Moreover, only 12.2 percent of adults consume enough fruit.

What Can Doctors Recommend to Improve Your Nutrition?

Dr. Barnard’s recommendations included five steps for the medical community to take to help support patients in improving their nutrition.  They address the main challenges in average American eating habits.  The main focus is on improving nutrition knowledge for doctors. This helps to make physicians a far better and more informed resource for their patients. The recommendations were as follows:

  1. Medical education for all physicians will require a solid nutrition component;
  2. Doctors and registered dietitians should work together;
  3. Electronic medical record services should include a personalized nutrition component with customizable questions and patient handouts.
  4. Doctors should consider themselves role models and should therefore model healthy and nutritious American eating habits.
  5. The medical community as a whole should support more nutritious food environments. This should include in public areas such as schools as well as in hospitals.

Dr. Barnard feels that these foundation changes to doctor information and overall medical community can make a widespread positive difference to the average American eating habits. As a result, this will help to prevent and control some of the most common chronic medical conditions affecting people across the country. As a result, this could make the country healthier overall.