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SB 380 Will Require Physicians to Learn about Human Nutrition

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SB 380 Will Require Physicians to Learn about Human Nutrition

From Dr. John McDougall
July 2013

The importance of lifestyle matters, such as the need for tobacco cessation, and curtailing alcohol and substance abuse are well recog-nized and accepted by physicians, and the Medical Board of California, but are irrelevant to the current senate bill. SB 380 is about food. (Diet is referenced three times and nutrition is talked about nine separate times in this bill, whereas tobacco, alcohol, and illicit drugs are not specifically mentioned.)...The fate of (1) more than 38 million men, women, and children living in California, (2) the economy of California, and (3) the reputations of California-licensed medical doctors all hang in the balance of effectively implementing SB 380. The ripple effect of doing so will be felt across the nation.

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After the unanimous passage by both houses of congress on September 6, 2011, California Governor Jerry Brown signed into law Senate Bill (SB) 380. The sole purpose of this directive is to remedy the widespread lack of basic knowledge of California physicians about human nutrition. Simply put, medical doctors do not know what their patients should eat to prevent, treat, and often cure common diseases, including obesity, type-2 diabetes, and heart disease.

The fate of (1) more than 38 million men, women, and children living in California, (2) the economy of California, and (3) the reputations of California-licensed medical doctors all hang in the balance of effectively implementing SB 380. The ripple effect of doing so will be felt across the nation. The Medical Board's first SB 380 Working Group Meeting will be held on July 17, 2013 in Sacramento, California.

Although “diet and lifestyle” are often discussed as being interconnected, these are separate issues in terms of SB 380. The importance of lifestyle matters, such as the need for tobacco cessation, and curtailing alcohol and substance abuse are well recog-nized and accepted by physicians, and the Medical Board of California, but are irrelevant to the current senate bill. SB 380 is about food. (Diet is referenced three times and nutrition is talked about nine separate times in this bill, whereas tobacco, alcohol, and illicit drugs are not specifically mentioned.)

Before SB 380 was passed in 2011, opponents, including members of the California Medical Association and several subspecialty groups representing the business interests of California physicians, told me and our congressional leaders that there is no need to have doctors’ practice behaviors regulated by the government of California. I was assured that medical doctors are responsible professionals actively involved in keeping their own houses in order. This is factually untrue.

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