Changing the way a civilization eats is a monumental undertaking that begins long before dinnertime. For the Western diet to shift, the financial and agriculture systems will need to be reorganized but change can happen from the bottom up. Organic food is a great example of how spending habits create change and the markets changing to meet the consumer’s demand.
Reeducating consumers about food, nutrition and healthcare could be the first step in the shift. Many Americans many find it difficult to accept the lessons of the food pyramid may be the cause of chronic conditions they are managing today. Unfortunately becoming ill or unhealthy is often the reason individuals begin seeking nutritional education. The first resource many patients turn to is their primary care physicians. Physicians are highly trained in many fields but not in nutrition. Medical schools in the United States on average only require 25 hours of nutritional education. Only 5 of those hours occurring during the clinical years, the rest included during the basic science coursework prior (Adams et al., 2013). For a society facing rising obesity and diabetes rates, the focus seems to be misdirected to teaching physicians how to manage disease rather than prevent. If the individuals and medical professional acknowledge the poor and lack of correct information available, an opportunity arises for an educated nutrition professional to step in.
Adams, K. M., Lindell, K. C., Kohlmeier, M. and Zeisel, S. H. (2013) ‘Status of nutrition education in medical schools2,3’, 83(4).