Despite the clear importance of nutritional knowledge for health professionals, such education has long been notoriously patchy at both undergraduate and postgraduate levels. Gastroenterologists in particular have a special responsibility to provide advice and expertise, not only in general nutrition but also in artificial nutrition support in the setting of extreme risk of malnutrition and intestinal failure. Recently, with the restructuring of undergraduate medical teaching and the advent of modernising medical careers, curricula have been examined in detail and training programmes have become competency based. These changes, together with increasing public expectations regarding both the importance of nutrition and ability of doctors to provide advice and guidance, have provided an opportunity to reassess nutritional training at all levels of medical education. In this review, the authors consider the factors which may have hindered the progression of nutritional education for doctors, and gastroenterologists in particular, as well as the steps which have been taken in recent years to address these issues and move such training forward. There is now a real opportunity to improve the quality of nutrition training in gastroenterology. If this can be achieved, all gastroenterologists of the future, instead of shrinking from difficult nutritional issues, should be able to manage them with confidence and enthusiasm no matter what their subspecialty; indeed, an increasing proportion may become nutrition subspecialists in their own right.
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Competing interests None.
Provenance and peer review Commissioned; externally peer reviewed.
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