Preventing Chronic Disease: What Doctors Really Need to Know

teaching health

Medical education is essential to the health of our nation. However most programs ignore or insufficiently address the self-care components that prevent or postpone common lifestyle-related diseases including obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and cancer.


“Health professionals  have not been trained to guide or refer [overweight patients] toward resources that can improve their skills with regard to enhanced self-care behavior.” – David Eisenberg, MD


A recent article in Academic Medicine, the peer-reviewed journal from the Association of American Medical Colleges, calls on medical educators to champion a number of actionable recommendations “to better address the great health challenges of our times, including the ways we eat, move, sleep and relate to one another.”


Recommendations include:

  • Incorporating courses in nutrition, exercise, stress management, and sleep hygiene in medical education to reform how health care providers treat and prevent chronic diseases.
  • Integrating wearable devices that provide real-time tracking of diet, exercise and vital signs into standard medical care to enable patients to make healthy choices.
  • Using teaching kitchens in hospitals, health care facilities and medical schools to provide examples of healthful, delicious, affordable and sustainable foods within a community.

With three-quarters of health care dollars spent on chronic life-style related diseases, these efforts aim to create health and well-being rather than focusing on disease.


Learn more about Samueli Institute’s research into healthy eating and nutrition.