Short Communication

European Journal of Clinical Nutrition (2014) 68, 844–846; doi:10.1038/ejcn.2014.75; published online 30 April 2014

Nutrition education in European medical schools: results of an international survey

M Chung1,4, V J van Buul2,4, E Wilms1, N Nellessen3 and F J P H Brouns1

  1. 1Department of Human Biology, Faculty of Health, Medicine and Life Sciences, School of Nutrition Toxicology and Metabolism (NUTRIM), Maastricht University, Maastricht, The Netherlands
  2. 2Department of Marketing and Supply Chain Management, School of Business and Economics, Maastricht University, Maastricht, The Netherlands
  3. 3Department of Neurology & Medical School, RWTH Aachen University, Aachen, Germany

Correspondence: Professor FJPH Brouns, Department of Human Biology, Faculty of Health, Medicine and Life Sciences, Maastricht University, PO 616, 6200 MD Maastricht, The Netherlands. E-mail:

4These authors contributed equally to this work.

Received 18 January 2014; Revised 6 March 2014; Accepted 21 March 2014
Advance online publication 30 April 2014



Consumers and patients are unsure of whom to trust for nutritional advice. Although medical doctors are seen as experts in nutrition and their advice is regularly followed, data are lacking on the amount of nutrition education in European medical school curricula. In line with US research, we distributed a survey on required and/or optional nutrition contact hours to medical education directors of all accredited medical schools (N=217) in Western European Union countries (N=14). In total, respondents from 32 medical schools (14.7%) from 10 countries indicated that nutrition education, in some form, was required in 68.8% of schools where, on average, 23.68h of required nutrition education was provided. The results from this small-scale survey are comparable to a 2010 US study; conversely, European educators were satisfied with the amount of nutrition education. We substantiate the increasing concern over the inadequate amounts of nutrition education provided to medical students in Europe.

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