Greater Federal Efforts Are Needed To Improve Nutrition Education in U.S. Medical Schools

CED-80-39: Published: Jan 2, 1980. Publicly Released: Jan 2, 1980.

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Despite its importance to health, nutrition is not taught adequately in many medical schools. As a result, many physicians may not know as much as they should in order to make nutritional assessments or counsel patients about diet.

Medical schools train physicians primarily to look for and treat nutrition related diseases after they occur rather than preventing them through nutritional assessment and dietary counseling. While current Federal spending for health programs totals about $63 million, in fiscal years 1972-79 the Bureau of Health Manpower spent less than $3 million for nutrition education grants to 23 medical schools. No evaluations have been made of the results of 10 completed grants, nor are there plans to evaluate them or the 13 ongoing grants that were funded at the end of fiscal year 1979.

Recommendation for Executive Action

  1. Status: Closed

    Comments: Please call 202/512-6100 for additional information.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of Health, Education, and Welfare should direct the Administrator of Health Resources Administration to: evaluate the results of the Bureau's nutrition education grants to gain insight into how medical schools could most effectively incorporate nutrition into their curricula; set up 3-year demonstration projects at interested medical schools to show how nutrition curricula could be consolidated and emphasized; and make the results of the demonstration projects known for other schools' use. The Secretary should also consider: funding fellowships in the nutrition area and funding regional conferences of the Association of American Medical Colleges to discuss nutrition education.

    Agency Affected:


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