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Integrative Medicine: Better Health through Individualized Nutrition

Integrative MedicineOne of the underlying tenets of Integrative Medicine is a willingness to take a broad view of different aspects of patient care. This might be particularly true when it comes to nutrition. For an integrative medicine physician, taking a broad view of the effect nutrition has on overall health often means more than merely recommending the standard dietary reference intake (DRI) for servings of fruit, vegetables, protein and dairy. It means ascertaining the individual dietary requirements of patients in order to develop personalized plans that optimize macro- and micro-nutritional intake.

A physician who wishes to fill this vital need for his or her patients can demonstrate the experience and knowledge of the core competencies necessary to practice this emerging specialty through board certification with the American Board of Integrative Medicine® (ABOIM®).

Objective data gathered through the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) and other studies contributed to the development of the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, 2010. The U.S. Department of Agriculture and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services jointly issue the guidelines every five years. The most recent government dietary guidelines take into consideration many of the same tenets as Integrative Medicine, such as:

  • Taking into account a patient’s lifestyle (sedentary vs. active)
  • The influence of nutritional balance on overall health
  • How a mindful approach to eating patterns can contribute to better health
  • The ability of food (as opposed to nutritional supplements) to meet nutritional requirements

Ideally, each patient will use the guidelines as a starting point to determine his or her optimal nutritional intake. A physician who has achieved board certification through the ABOIM has demonstrated that he or she is equipped to help develop a dietary plan that is geared toward a patient’s individual bio-chemistry. This is in keeping with the foundational precepts of Integrative Medicine − an affirmation of the physician-patient relationship, with an emphasis on providing “whole person” health care.

The American Board of Physician Specialties® (ABPS) manages the ABOIM, which provides the only path to physician board certification in Integrative Medicine. To learn more about the ABOIM, or for information about how the ability to develop a patient’s nutritional plan and other aspects of the specialty are measured for board certification purposes, contact the ABPS. The ABPS is the official board certification body of the American Association of Physician Specialists, Inc.