Sending Doctors To Culinary School

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It’s a little surreal how little conventional doctors spend talking with patients about nutrition. But nutrition science hasn’t historically been a big part of med school, even if it is a big factor in chronic disease.

To bridge the gap, Harvard University and the Culinary Institute of America teamed up to send physicians back to school—cooking school. The hope is that docs and healthcare professionals who can cook healthfully might better teach their patients to do the same.

Harvard and the Culinary Institute have held eight “Healthy Kitchens, Healthy Lives” conferences in the last few years, drawing around 400 doctors to come learn about healthy cooking and nutritional science. A survey found attendees more likely to cook their own meals; eat whole grains, nuts and vegetables; and feel confident in counseling overweight patients about their diets.

“The conceptual mode for this program was influenced by the observation that for healthcare professionals, practicing a healthful behavior oneself (eg, exercise, wearing a seat belt) is a powerful predictor of counseling patients about these same behaviors,” wrote researchers in a letter published Monday in the Journal of the American Medical Assn. Internal Medicine.

They point out that Americans have shifted from spending 2.7 times more on food than health care in 1960 to spending 2 times more on health care than food today. But during this same period, type-2 diabetes, obesity and obesity-related chronic disease rates have increased dramatically.

I think it’s pretty clear we need to prescribe cooking school for more American doctors, stat!

health care and nutrition
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