JUST WHAT THE DOCTOR ORDERED
Where do you get your nutritional information? “Not from your doctor,” says Neal Barnard, M.D., President and founder of the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine headquartered in Washington, D.C. According to Barnard, most doctors don’t even know enough about nutrition to understand when to refer a patient for nutritional counseling. Instead, they push conventional treatments like drugs and surgery, even when dietary changes could be more effective—and much less dangerous.
Seven out of every ten deaths are caused by preventable chronic diseases like heart disease, cancer, and stroke where diet is a major factor. And yet physicians are inadequately prepared to provide nutritional counseling due to the absence of nutrition education in 3 out of 4 medical schools.
As part of National Nutrition Month, two important bills authored by the Physicians Committee will increase nutrition education and awareness among healthcare professionals to comprehensively address chronic diseases.
Last week my husband and I attended a Leadership Conference held by the Physicians Committee in Washington, D.C. We participated in their lobbying efforts on Capitol Hill to increase nutrition education for health care professionals. At a congressional briefing we heard from sponsoring congressman Tim Ryan (D-OH) and from academic experts and medical practitioners on the two bills designed to offer nutrition training throughout the career of a healthcare professional--one bill offers nutritional training while in medical school and residency and the other bill offers continuing nutritional education while in practice.
In the field of preventive medicine and ethical research the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine is tops. The Committee works to educate legislators and influence policies that will contribute to a better future for people and animals. With regard to animals, the Committee has been successful in replacing animals in research with simulators. PCRM is a national nonprofit organization comprised of more than 150,000 physicians, scientists, and concerned citizens. In addition the Committee provides online resources for nutrition education, dietary change programs, cooking classes for healthy eating, and opportunities to become a health advocate. To learn more about the work of the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine, visit www.pcrm.org.