Are doctors nutritionists? What is the role of doctors in providing nutrition advice? What is the role of doctors in providing nutrition advice?

Research output: Contribution to journalComment / DebateOtherpeer-review

22 Citations (Scopus)


Diet and nutritional status impact on health outcomes. The global rise of dietrelated non-communicable diseases plus the double burden of obesity and malnutrition means that it is imperative more than ever that all healthcare professionals are able to provide at least basic evidence-based nutrition advice. Improving an individual’s diet requires more than just information provision, it requires consistent and long-term support to change and maintain new behaviours. Doctors acknowledge that nutrition plays a crucial role in health and agree that providing nutrition advice is part of their role. However, providing sufficiently detailed nutrition advice that is relevant to a patient’s health goals, useful for the patient, and that results in measurable changes, is not common in practice settings. Numerous challenges and barriers have been identified for why doctors do not provide nutrition recommendations to their patients. A lack of nutrition education and training, time constraints during appointments, and patients who have access to an ever-growing body of nutrition and health information via the Internet and social media, together may explain why doctors tend not to include nutrition advice in their care plans. This paper outlines both short- and long-term strategies for improving doctors’ engagement with nutrition interventions and collaborative working with dietitians in the context of collaborative care. Having doctors support and advocate for evidenced-based nutrition practice is a crucial element of the World Health Organization’s Decade of Action on Nutrition achieving measurable success.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)147-152
Number of pages6
JournalNutrition Bulletin
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2018


  • Doctors
  • General practitioners
  • Medical curricula
  • Medical profession
  • Nutrition education

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