Despite the continuous medical focus on obesity, nutrition, and diet-related diseases, many internal medicine training programs still lack comprehensive nutrition education modules, leaving residents and physicians inadequately equipped to handle many related conditions – including the pervasive obesity health crisis. A commentary published in JAMA Internal Medicine in July underscores the persisting need for nutrition knowledge for today’s physicians.
Today, there is a widely held notion of the universal “healthy” diet: with collective benefits applicable across all individuals. The U.S. federal dietary guidelines have aimed to establish blueprints for proper nutrition, which in theory should apply to all and lead to the same or at least similar results. However, increasing amounts of forthcoming research implicate the one-size-fits-all approach as fundamentally flawed due to its omission of a multitude of vital personal factors including biomarkers, metabolic capabilities, and genetic predispositions.
With obesity rates on the rise, researchers continue to examine potential factors affecting body weight and BMI other than caloric intake and physical activity. Currently, there is a range of options for targeting obesity including surgery, medication, and even psychological interventions however, the majority are costly or invasive endeavors. The development and prevalence of wearable monitoring technologies has dramatically increased the data available to researchers and clinicians, providing an opportunity for improved personalized patient care, prevention strategies, and treatment methods dependent on individual lifestyle habits. Stemming from extensive personal monitoring, recent research implicates the power of small lifestyle changes such as sleeping habits and meal times and their effects on weight gain.