Hyderabad: Rise in diet-related non-communicable diseases has doubled the burden of obesity and malnutrition, but absence of knowledge on nutrition is making it difficult for doctors to give advice in these matters, says a study published in Nutrition Bulletin.
The study looked into the increasing global burden of diet-related diseases and found that there were numerous challenges and barriers why doctors do not provide nutrition recommendations to their patients.
“The study of nutrition or its various aspects is not a part of the medical curriculum,” Dr Neeraj Raj, consultant in medical education solutions, explained.
“Doctors are taught about diseases and how to cure them. This is the fundamental challenge they face and hence nutritional advice is not given by them.”
On the other hand, nutritionists, who are taught about the food, have to consider the social and environmental factors, as it impacts different populations in different ways.
The study of food, its cooking methods, bio-availability and absorption are becoming major issues as diet plans are working for some and not for the others. Corporate hospitals have nutritionists on their rolls, but they are for treatment-related purposes and preventive advice is on need basis.
The biggest challenge in present times is weight loss, where there are a plethora of different strategies which can enable one to lose weight but the physiological processes responsible for weight regain are yet to be identified. The major challenge is how to prevent weight regain and here the role of nutrition experts plays a major role.
Dr Sunitha Premlatha, senior nutritionist at Yashoda Hospitals, explained, “Maintaining ideal body weight is important, but the mechanism has to be dealt with and there has to be proper social support. In present times, the challenges of lifestyle, socio-economic impact and reduced physical activity are leading to weight regain and less of weight maintenance.”
It has been found that 80 per cent of people consult general practitioners for weight loss. The study found that evidence-based scientific dietary guidelines with doctors will go a long way to bridge the gap.
Some are even recommending inclusion of nutrition in medical curriculum so that there can be better understanding. Similarly, patients have to be seen by a team of medical experts where all aspects from disease, drug interaction, nutrition and care can be carefully charted out....