Journal Articles

Analysis of Nutrition Education in Osteopathic Medical Schools

March 04, 2015

Analysis of Nutrition Education in Osteopathic Medical Schools, 4 Mar 2015, Journal of Biomedical Education, Kathaleen Briggs Early,1 Kelly M. Adams,2 and Martin Kohlmeier2,3

1College of Osteopathic Medicine, Pacific Northwest University of Health Sciences, 200 University Pkwy, Yakima, WA 98901, USA
2Department of Nutrition, School of Medicine and Gillings School of Global Public Health, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, 800 Eastowne Drive, Suite 100, Chapel Hill, NC 27514, USA
3UNC Nutrition Research Institute, 500 Laureate Way, Kannapolis, NC 28081, USA

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 (US COM) 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.

Received 4 December 2014; Accepted 4 March 2015

Academic Editor: Lubna Baig

Copyright © 2015 Kathaleen Briggs Early et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

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