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The relevance of clinical nutrition education and role models to the practice of medicine


Clinical nutrition is concerned with the diagnosis and treatment of diseases that affect the intake, absorption, and metabolism of dietary constituents and with the promotion of health through the prevention of diet related diseases. Adult diseases of clinical nutrition encompass the most common causes of mortality in the developed world and include obesity with its co-morbidities of hypertension, diabetes, dyslipidemias, increased risks of cardiovascular disease, some cancers, and pulmonary failure; intestinal disorders related to inadequate nutrient absorption; eating disorders; and malnutrition associated with chronic illness and surgical trauma. Scientific advances on the relationship of dietary substances to the cellular mechanisms of disease occur with regularity and frequency. Yet, despite the prevalence of nutritional disorders in clinical medicine and increasing scientific evidence on the significance of dietary modification to disease prevention, present day practitioners of medicine are typically untrained in the relationship of diet to health and disease. In the absence of reliable medical advice on nutrition, patients increasingly turn to herbal dietary supplements, costly diet schemes for weight reduction, and other unproved and potentially harmful remedies. Standardization of curricula for nutrition education of medical students and trainees and the provision of knowledgeable clinical nutrition specialist educators and role models in medical institutions is increasingly relevant to the cost-effective integration of nutritional concepts into medical practice.

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Halsted, C. The relevance of clinical nutrition education and role models to the practice of medicine. Eur J Clin Nutr 53, s29–s34 (1999).

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  • nutrition
  • education
  • physicians


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