Policy approach to nutrition and physical activity education in health care professional training1-4

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Abstract

Nutrition and physical activity are key risk factors for a host of today's most prevalent and costly chronic conditions, such as obesity and diabetes; yet, health care providers are not adequately trained to educate patients on the components of a healthy lifestyle. The purpose of this article is to underscore the need for improved nutrition and physical activity training among health care professionals and to explore opportunities for how policy can help support a shift in training. We first identify key barriers to sufficient training in nutrition and physical activity. Then, we provide an overview of how recent changes in the government and institutional policy environment are supporting a shift toward prevention in our health care system and creating an even greater need for improved training of health care professionals in nutrition and physical activity. Last, we outline recommendations for additional policy changes that could drive enhanced training for health care professionals and recommend future directions in research.

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