Family Doctor

Equipping Healthcare Providers for Obesity Care

Healthcare providers are frank about it. Up until now, training has left them ill-prepared to provide real, evidence-based care for people with obesity. So when the Bipartisan Policy Center yesterday unveiled core competencies for equipping healthcare providers to deliver obesity care, it was a gratifying event. Even more inspiring is the fact that these competencies have some backing from 20 leading health organizations, representing a dozen healthcare professions.

Moving Beyond Glib Prescriptions

CEO Joe Nadglowski of the Obesity Action Coalition described this consensus as an important milestone:

Today’s consensus might represent a turning point. I see growing recognition by the healthcare community that obesity care is not simple. It requires healthcare providers who understand its complexity. This might be an important first step in moving from blaming the patient to real, evidence-based obesity care.

Vice President Jeanne Blankenship of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics was a core member of the workgroup that developed these competencies. She said:

The common principle for these core competencies is that they all must be adopted and adapted to each healthcare profession. A social worker or a physical therapist is a lot different from a registered dietitian or a nurse. So each profession should tailor the competencies to fit the needs of their students and providers.

Consensus Is Not So Easy These Days

George Washington Univerity’s Bill Dietz expressed surprise that such a broad consensus came together:

It is remarkable that we came to consensus on these comprehensive obesity care competencies because they encompass virtually all aspects of care. Implementing the competencies in the curricula of these healthcare organizations is an essential next step to improving the ability of all types of providers to deliver effective care for people with obesity.

Dietz co-chaired the workgroup with Don Bradley of Duke University.

Gaining consensus was indeed remarkable. But the biggest task lies ahead: bringing these competencies into the practices of diverse healthcare professions.

Click here for the full report and here for more from the Bipartisan Policy Center.

Family Doctor, lithograph by Grant Wood / Smithsonian American Art Museum

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June 8, 2017

One Response to “Equipping Healthcare Providers for Obesity Care”

  1. June 09, 2017 at 12:34 am, David Brown said:

    Scientific consensus, it would seem, is what has kept scientists from sorting the factors responsible for the obesity epidemic.