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  1. News Release

  2. Oct 22, 2020

Poll Finds Most N.Y. Doctors Think Nutrition Education Should Be Required for Physicians

New York State Bill Requiring Nutrition Education Could Help Fight Diseases that Make COVID-19 More Severe and Deadly

ALBANY—In New York State, the leading COVID-19 comorbidities are high blood pressure, diabetes, and high cholesterol—chronic conditions that can often be improved or eliminated with good nutrition. But many physicians feel unprepared to provide their patients with nutrition counseling. A poll of New York State physicians finds that 82% would be more likely to discuss nutrition with patients if they had more nutrition training, and 64% think doctors should be required to take continuing medical education (CME) for nutrition.

The poll, commissioned by the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine and conducted by Lincoln Park Strategies, asked 224 New York State physicians with specialties including cardiology, internal medicine, and pediatrics about their nutrition education and preparedness to offer patients nutrition counseling. The poll also found that:

  • 56% do not currently opt to take nutrition courses in their CME.
  • 71% are not satisfied with the amount of nutrition coursework they were offered during their medical education.
  • 90% feel nutritional guidance should be a routine part of patient visits.

Bill A7695/S5887, introduced in the New York State Legislature by Assemblymember Linda B. Rosenthal and Senator Toby Ann Stavisky, would require six hours of physician coursework or training in nutrition every two years for NYS-licensed physicians.

“The legislation is based on the age-old adage that ‘an apple a day keeps the doctor away.’ Good nutrition can provide a strong foundation for overall health and well-being, and it is vital that providers partner with their patients so that comprehensive nutrition guidance is a part of preventive health care. Good nutrition doesn’t just help contribute to a strong and healthy body and mind, it can also help keep us safe from COVID-19. Working together with the Physicians Committee, we will pass this bill next session,” said Assemblymember Linda B. Rosenthal (D/WF-Manhattan).

“Practicing good nutrition is vital for maintaining a healthy lifestyle. Therefore, our medical professionals need to be adequately educated and able to provide their patients with nutritional guidance. This bill will make sure New York’s doctors are versed on the advancements and breakthroughs in this ever-evolving field, so they are prepared to provide the best information and advice," said Senator Toby Ann Stavisky. “New York State's physicians tell us they’d like more continuing medical education in nutrition. Passing this bill will make that a reality.”

Nearly 1.7 million New Yorkers have diabetes, and heart disease accounts for 40 percent of all deaths statewide. Research shows that a diet rich in fruits, vegetables, grains, and beans can help fight obesity, diabetes, and heart disease.

“Chronic disease is already responsible for overwhelming and unnecessary suffering, and patients with chronic disease who contract COVID-19 have worse outcomes,” said Ted D. Barnett, MD, FACLM, interventional radiologist and founder of Rochester Lifestyle Medicine Institute. “As most chronic disease is the result of diet, nutrition CME will give New York physicians the tools to help their patients improve the conditions that make COVID-19 more severe and deadly.”

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Michael Keevican



Founded in 1985, the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine is a nonprofit organization that promotes preventive medicine, conducts clinical research, and encourages higher standards for ethics and effectiveness in education and research.

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