Nutrition 101 ….it’s the fuel

Nutrition is the equivalent of putting fuel in your car. Two questions that are paramount in the discussion. Would you put  less than clean proper octane fuel in your car or substitute diesel for gas, as an example ?

Neither of these questions is a trick question however on a daily basis as indicated in the quoted article you can see, we as a population regularly do both of the above.

Not surprising to those of us who have  extensively studied nutrition  (12 semesters are the minimum in Naturopathic medical school) that it really takes years not a few hours to understand the multitude of chemical transformations that allow us to function.

 I certainly appreciate the impact is has on your health, after seeing 30 years of patients, the significance of integration of good dietary consideration is perhaps the most important aspects to address many disorders.

Obviously it’s a travesty that even basic knowledge is lacking in the majority of all allopathic medical training schools. I believe that the Washington Post article clearly makes the point. I’ve taken the liberty of highlighting the most significant parts of the article for your review and adding my comments in color.

Clearly if you’re seeking good preventive care you NEED to see a trained physician who has a scientific background and grounding in the basic fuel of life…….food.

At the Center we have the training and the understanding of what it takes to implement change and achieve optimal health.

Dr. Alan Kadish

The Washington Post

To Your Health

Your doctor says he doesn’t know enough about nutrition or exercise

BY Lenny Burnstein June 23

Does your doctor ever talk to you about nutrition or exercise? No? You’re not alone. Polling shows that fewer than one-eighth of visits to physicians include any nutrition counseling and fewer than 25 percent of physicians believe they have sufficient training to talk to patients about diet or physical activity. And the number of hours devoted to teaching future physicians about nutrition in medical school has actually declined recently, from 22.3  in 2004 to 19.6 in 2009. (The National Academy of Sciences says it should be 25 to 30 hours.)

Meanwhile, a good number of physicians are overweight and don’t exercise regularly themselves. And nearly 15 percent of Americans face food insecurity; it’s difficult to worry about adequate nutrition when your primary concern is making sure your children don’t go hungry.

This worrisome glimpse of one of the obstacles to addressing the U.S. obesity epidemic is contained in a comprehensive report scheduled for release Tuesday by a group of organizations that are calling for major changes in medical education and other aspects of the health care system to combat the chronic diseases that stem from our unhealthful lifestyle.

“We need to look at the nutrition of children in that first 1,000 days, from conception to the second birthday,” said Ann Veneman, former Secretary of Agriculture and co-chair of the Nutrition and Physical Activity Initiative of the Bipartisan Policy Center, a think tank founded by four former U.S. senators that produced the report.

Along with the American College of Sports Medicine and the Alliance for a Healthier Generation, the group issued nine recommendations for reform and held a briefing on them Monday.

The most far-reaching include developing a “standard nutrition and physical activity curriculum” for the nation’s 170 accredited medical schools and other health professional schools, encouraging more testing on nutrition and physical activity when health professionals take licensing and certification exams, and providing better insurance reimbursement for preventive care such as nutrition and exercise advice. The latter must be done as part of a long-term shift toward more emphasis on prevention and less on cure, the group said.

If this great suggestion were to become a reality, how many years would it take to actually put the teaching and then the testing into the system?  At least a minimum of 5 years, assuming that it was passed and was funded today…..not too likely…

“As long as the health care marketplace undervalues preventive care, health care professionals will lack financial support to address these issues with their patients and medical schools will have less incentive to train their students accordingly,” the report notes.

If you have been actively following the health care debates, especially the Obama care implementation, it’s really all about the money. Medical care and training is so intimately intermingled in the US that there is no potential to clearly see the greater good, as a society, for applying preventive advanced medical care.

Donna Shalala, who headed the Department Health and Human Services under President Bill Clinton and is the co-chair of the Nutrition and Physical Activity Initiative, noted the glacial pace of change in medical school curricula, and higher ed curricula in general. (Shalala is president of the University of Miami.)

I realized, with a smile, that my previous implementation time line was sarcasm at best. Assuming that changes could be made I have an obvious question for you as a patient.

If  ~10,000 people per day are becoming 65 year of age, will they or you be able to ever  have an interaction with a trained physician who sees the whole picture including nutrition, except for Naturopathic physicians ?

Remember that although Oregon is a licensed state with an almost full scope of practice, most states are not. Currently, 17 states, five Canadian provinces, the District of Columbia, and the U.S. territories of Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands all have laws regulating naturopathic doctors. Learn more about licensure from the Association of Accredited Naturopathic Medical Colleges.

“As we’re discussing cost containment in health care, this

[shift toward prevention] is a critical piece of cost containment,” she said.

The report notes that, at least in piecemeal fashion, some of this is already occurring. The University of Colorado’s medical school has added nutrition education to instruction during all four years, and offers nutrition electives for internal medicine and pediatric residents. Faculty and students at the University of South Carolina School of Medicine in Greenville have organized nutrition and fitness activities that include running, cycling and yoga groups.

And the trend toward private employers’ taking an active role in employee wellness continues to spread. “Prevention is becoming a core part of their health strategy,” said Howell Wechsler, chief executive officer of the Alliance for a Healthier Generation.  Dan Glickman, a former Secretary of Agriculture and another co-chair of the Nutrition and Physical Activity Initiative. “This is not new stuff. Companies are finding that people who are healthy work more and are more productive.”

Ask any business executive if healthy workers work better……almost too obvious an answer but here we are in 2014 still talking the talk but not having the rubber meet the roadway. 

If you’re inclined to have the quality of care, that emphasizes optimizing your health, come see us at the Center. 

Lenny Bernstein writes the To Your Health blog. He started as an editor on the Post’s National Desk in 2000 and has worked in Metro and Sports.


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Dr. Kadish is an unusual physician often referred to as a "doctor detective". His expertise is the evaluation and treatment of complex disorders, typically after other physicians have been stumped, is renowned. He provides care for all family members and has additional training in autistic spectrum disorders and chronic complex diseases.