Thomas Edison said, “The doctor of the future will give no medicine.” But will the medical school of the future give enough education on fitness and nutrition? Andréa Maria Cecil investigates.
With wine comes honesty. Mike Roizen knew that. So he encouraged imbibing every Wednesday night, when he would meet eight medical students to find out who the good and bad teachers were at SUNY Upstate Medical University’s College of Medicine.
But Roizen got more than he bargained for when the students started talking about nutrition. What he discovered was “appalling.” Their nutritional ignorance made him shake his head. And he was the medical school’s dean.
That was 12 years ago. Today, not much has changed.
For decades, neither diet nor exercise has been discussed with any depth at most of the country’s medical schools. Some institutions spare a few hours here and there to explain the federal government’s food pyramid or how nutrients are absorbed and to vaguely advise that “moderate” exercise is good. Meanwhile, many Americans look to their doctors as they die younger or live their later years with more disease than citizens of poorer countries—despite the U.S. spending nearly $3 trillion on health care in 2013.