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Opportunities for innovation in nutrition education for health professionals
  1. Caryl Nowson
  1. School of Exercise and Nutrition Sciences, Deakin University, Waurn Ponds, Victoria, Australia
  1. Correspondence to Dr Caryl Nowson, School of Exercise and Nutrition Sciences, Deakin University - Geelong Campus at Waurn Ponds, Waurn Ponds VIC 3216, Australia; caryl.nowson{at}deakin.edu.au

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Going forward from this unprecedented worldwide coronavirus disease of 2019 (COVID-19) health crisis, which has devasted the lives of many and shattered economies around the world, we should hopefully emerge with a renewed recognition of importance of a robust public health systems to support the health and well-being of populations. This pandemic has the potential to be a stimulus for governments, health agencies and educational organisations to develop sustainable strategies and frameworks to address the social inequalities relating to health, which has resulted in increasing rates of chronic disease. The greatest impact of the COVID-19 pandemic has been borne by those already managing chronic health conditions.1 These lifestyle diseases such as hypertension, type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease contribute to an increase in mortality from COVID-19, which in turn are all exacerbated by obesity, also a major risk factor for the development of adverse health outcomes related to COVID-19.2 3 The population-wide improvement of cardiovascular outcomes seen over recent years in developed countries is now at risk of being overwhelmed by an increase in risk factors arising from poor lifestyle practices, including sedentary behaviour and harmful dietary practices contributing to increased rates of obesity, high blood pressure and an adverse blood lipid profiles.

Health professionals have an important role to play in assisting individuals and populations to improve their lifestyle practices, together with advocating to government to implement environmental changes that enable populations to eat well and be physically active. Health professional education (excluding dietetic/nutritionist training) has failed to produce graduates with the competencies required to assist populations and patients to implement positive lifestyle and dietary modifications, within the context of their community and home environments. There has been a tendency for health professional groups to act in isolation and it is only relatively recently that they have …

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