Nutrition gets short shrift, but should it?

Good nutrition is foundational to preventing chronic disease and helping people live a healthier life, yet physicians responding to a Medscape Medical News survey said they believe that only about half of their patients would benefit from counselling on their diet.

In the online survey of 1005 physicians, doctors said that 55% of their patients could use some nutrition advice, but those figures strike some specialists in obesity and preventive medicine as low.

“If the question is what percentage of patients could benefit from some nutritional guidance from a health professional, the true number is much higher than 55%; in fact, it’s 100%,” said Stephen Devries, MD, a preventive cardiologist and executive director of the Gaples Institute in Deerfield, Illinois, USA.

Devries notes that three quarters of US adults are overweight or have obesity, and at least 50% have prediabetes or diabetes, saying “A meaningful discussion of nutrition needs to be included in the care of every patient.”

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