During breakfast this morning I caught up on the latest issue of the Canadian Medical Association Journal, which is a magazine that among many areas, covers the latest research on medical conditions and guidelines for management of illness and disease. I then had a revelation that what would make this cover infinitely more appealing to me was if my beautiful smoothie bowl with homemade granola and all its other nutrition boosting toppings could be photoshopped in. I would love to see more features topics that inspired nutritional knowledge and it’s role in disease prevention on top of the already existing information about management plans.
Canadian literature has shown that medical school curriculums and residency training programs devote shockingly little time to nutritional education. My own research in Toronto has demonstrated that there is a discrepancy between the importance that FM residents place on nutrition education to patients and the amount they actually receive in training.
Given the role that nutrition counselling can play in preventing a multitude of chronic diseases, this fact about gaps in care has always left me a little disheartened. We are trained to be so well versed in the adverse effects of medications while many of us don’t have a clue on how to guide our patients on a dietary regimen that will stave off conditions requiring medications to begin with.
Articles cite lack of education, time, and compensation as reasons that family physicians spend little time talking about diet in the office. As a huge advocate of focusing my practice on straight up primary prevention, it is one of my mandates to modify the curriculum of trainees so that we achieve a level of confidence surrounding nutrition counselling that does the title of ‘preventative care’ justice.
Don’t be afraid to ask your doctor about more preventative care strategies. Maybe that push from patients is what we need to begin focusing more of our practise on how to lessen risk of health problems and how to lead fuller, longer, active lives.