As healthcare professionals increasingly face the challenges of lifestyle-related diseases, many have called for greater training in lifestyle interventions. In 2016, a group of prominent doctors wrote to the medical schools council stating that medical students and practising doctors should receive mandatory training in evidence based lifestyle interventions. Later, in 2018, it was reported in the national press that medical students said they learnt “almost nothing” about the way diet and lifestyle affected health. In one survey that looked at nutrition teaching and practice among medical students and doctors, most respondents felt that their nutrition training was inadequate, with more than 70% reporting less than two hours.(1) Only 26% of doctors were confident in their nutrition knowledge and 74% gave nutritional advice less than once a month, citing lack of knowledge, time and confidence as the main barriers.
Yet following a recent government review, commissioned in 2018 and published in 2021,(2) it was reported that doctors would be urged to recommend more non-pharmacological treatments, with at least 10% of prescriptions being pointless or possibly harmful.
This is where an understanding of integrative functional nutrition can play an important role.