Knowledge gaps remain in dietary education, training
Unhealthy dietary patterns remain a major contributor to massive public health and economic burden despite existing knowledge that diet quality significantly affects atherosclerotic CVD, according to a science advisory from the American Heart Association published in Circulation.
“There is now abundant scientific evidence documenting that adherence to a healthy dietary pattern reduces the risk of atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease events and can significantly advance population-wide cardiovascular health, supporting the principal objectives of the AHA’s Strategic Impact Goals for 2020 and beyond,” Karen E. Aspry, MD, MS, assistant professor of medicine at Brown University in Providence, Rhode Island, and chair of the writing committee, and colleagues wrote. “However, despite the robust nutrition science base and wide dissemination of evidence-based dietary guidelines from the AHA/American College of Cardiology in 2013, and regularly from the Dietary Guidelines for Americans Advisory Committee, diet quality remains poor throughout much of the United States, especially in ethnically diverse subgroups with low socioeconomic status and in a surprisingly large proportion of individuals with established [atherosclerotic] CVD.”
According to a 2013 survey, 71% of medical schools provide less than the minimum of 25 classroom hours dedicated to nutrition education recommended by the National Academy of Sciences and 36% provide less than half that amount, the authors wrote.
The advisory provides examples of successful approaches currently being used to integrate clinical nutrition throughout undergraduate and graduate medical education courses, instead of a one-time course.
In addition, the advisory provides information about assessing nutrition knowledge and competencies and outlines nutrition resources and CME activities.
“Nutrition is a dynamic science with a rapidly evolving evidence base requiring continual updating and renewed translational efforts,” Linda Van Horn, PhD, RD, professor of preventive medicine at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine and vice chair of the writing committee, said in a press release. “The competencies outlined in this statement provide a foundation with flexible options for advancing nutrition knowledge and skills across the learning continuum, and a toolkit for medical school curriculum directors, program directors, faculty, trainees and students.” by Dave Quaile
Disclosures: Aspry and Van Horn report no relevant financial disclosures. Another author reports he serves on the speakers bureau and/or receives honoraria from Boehringer Ingelheim.