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Medical Providers Aren’t Learning About Obesity



When discussing weight, there’s a disconnection between the dieter and healthcare provider. Many providers find it difficult to even broach the subject, despite the escalating rise in the disease its related chronic conditions. It would seem that the importance of obesity education is more important than ever. However, the lack of obesity education in medical training is alarming.

According to a recent study conducted by Northwestern Medicine, licensing exams for medical students have a “surprisingly low” amount of questions in regards to obesity prevention and treatment. Why is this problematic?

“It’s a trickle-down effect,” said lead study author Dr. Robert Kushner. “If it’s not being tested, it won’t be taught as robustly as it should be.” Putting a finer point on it, “The inadequate testing means medical schools have less incentive to provide obesity education in their curriculum, and students have less incentive to learn about it.”

So what’s being done to remedy the situation? For starters, the National Board of Medical Examiners (NMBE) requested that a panel — the same panel of six obesity medicine specialists that reviewed test items from several United States Medical Licensing Examinations to perform the study — identified which topics weren’t adequately covered on the exams in relation to obesity. The panel also suggested that development committees consisting of obesity experts be established in order to begin adding obesity-related elements these exams.

However, something does need to be done in the intermediate. Updates to these exams will benefit future healthcare providers and their patients, but obesity is an intensifying epidemic that needs more immediate, contemporary solutions. As a provider, if treating obesity isn’t or wasn’t one of your primary objectives, maybe it’s time to change that.

Source: Northwestern University


Blog written by Marcus Miller/Robard Corporation

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