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Natural Awakenings San Diego

The Nutrition Shift in the Medical Field

Jun 30, 2021 06:30AM ● By Julie Peterson
Whole and cut up apples on plates on table with bowl of salad and medicine pills and vials

michelle leman/

“We, as a society, have gotten locked into focusing on disease cure over health care,” writes T. Colin Campbell, Ph.D., author of the bestselling The China Study and the recently released The Future of Nutrition. Fortunately, as studies prove that diabetes, kidney disease, cancer and Crohn’s disease improve with changes in diet, the medical community is slowly shifting toward using nutrition in tandem with traditional care to help manage and prevent disease. 

Unfortunately, says John Osborne, M.D., director of cardiology at State of the Heart Cardiology, in Dallas, “The amount of nutritional education in medical school is minimal.” Now, the American College of Lifestyle Medicine (ACLM) is aiming to fill that void by training healthcare teams to prevent and reverse chronic disease through lifestyle behaviors. 

Saint Joseph Mercy Health System, in Ann Arbor, Michigan, is one example. After a group of physicians and registered dietitians received ACLM certification, it launched a Lifestyle Medicine and Clinical Nutrition program. “The goal is to provide support to individuals and teach them to hardwire best practices that optimize their own personal health and potential,” says Lisa McDowell, program director. 

The Food as Medicine Institute, in Portland, Oregon, also offers a training program for healthcare professionals and nutritionists to implement community-based nutrition programs. The Cleveland Clinic Center for Functional Medicine, in Ohio, offers programs that help patients identify genetic, lifestyle and environmental factors to shift health from illness to well-being. The Gaples Institute, in Deerfield, Illinois, offers nutritional training and accreditation for medical clinicians, as well as free nutritional instruction online for the public.


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