At times, medical school can feel like information overload. However, education on nutrition, exercise, and other lifestyle habits are often thrown to the back burner. 60% of the factors that influence an individual’s health are modifiable lifestyle choices, So, why is there so much emphasis placed on cutting edge and expensive medical technology when disease prevention can be the cheapest prescription?
Currently, Canadian medical schools have begun to implement components of lifestyle medicine into their curriculum. Unfortunately, these programs are often either brief or voluntary. A survey conducted in 2010 showed that a vast majority of Canadian medical students felt incompetent to provide specific nutritional advice to future patients and believe that more time should be dedicated to lifestyle medicine education throughout their medical education.
My name is Noam Raiter and I am a first-year medical student at McMaster University. I have experienced the impact that nutrition and exercise have on both my physical and mental health first-hand. Since then, I have continuously worked as an advocate for student wellness, mental health, and good nutrition (which all go hand in hand). As much as I have enjoyed every minute of medical school thus far, I can’t help but be taken aback by the lack of education on disease prevention. The greatest predictor of patients receiving nutrition counseling is their physician’s perception of the importance of lifestyle factors. For this reason, I am incredibly excited to begin working as a Canadian Ambassador of Nutritank to increase awareness and access to resources for medical students throughout Canada.
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