Exam Season

Medical Boards Expect Doctors to Know Little About Obesity

You might think doctors need to know something about obesity when they take their medical boards. Unfortunately, you would be wrong. A new study by Robert Kushner and colleagues finds that these exams test medical students extensively on treating the complications of obesity. But on obesity itself, the exams cover very little.

If it’s not being tested, it won’t be taught, as Kushner explains:

It’s a trickle-down effect. If it’s not being tested, it won’t be taught as robustly as it should be. Tackling this challenge will require major changes in medical education.

And in fact, a 2015 study by Fatima Cody Stanford and colleagues found that many physicians have no training in obesity care whatsoever. In that study, 41% of adult primary care physicians affiliated with Massachusetts General Hospital had received no such training.

But perhaps better training is already coming. In Stanford’s study, younger physicians were significantly more likely to receive training on obesity. The National Board of Medical Examiners is working with Kushner and other obesity medicine experts to include more testing on obesity. The Bipartisan Policy Center is working for stronger medical education and training related to obesity.

Click here for the study and here for more from HealthDay.

Exam Season, photograph © Jain Basil Aliyas / flickr

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January 22, 2017

2 Responses to “Medical Boards Expect Doctors to Know Little About Obesity”

  1. January 22, 2017 at 9:41 am, Martha Shea Smith said:

    I’d love to have access to references to see the information and approaches that are included in current instruction in med school.

  2. January 22, 2017 at 11:23 am, Allen Browne said:

    Yup again, Ted.

    Obesity is not on the curriculum in medical school or residency. The health care providers have no more information than the public and the patients. Bias and stigma strike again. But your comments and the two papers and perhaps some work by the NBME and the Bipartisan Policy Center (what is that?) sounds encouraging.