New reports provide guidance for obesity care

June 24, 2019

SILVER SPRING, Md.--Advocates for obesity prevention and treatment have designed two new resources for medical educators, healthcare providers and community programs that will enhance the level of care for patients, according to two new studies published online today in Obesity, the flagship journal of The Obesity Society. The resources include the first set of competencies for how to care for patients with obesity for undergraduate and graduate medical education, and a proposed standard of care for people with obesity.

The Obesity Medicine Education Collaborative (OMEC), an intersociety initiative that includes The Obesity Society (TOS), has created 32 obesity-focused competencies to improve obesity medicine education in medical schools and for advanced healthcare providers.

To develop the competencies, the Collaborative used the Six Core Domain Competencies of the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education as a guiding framework. The core domains used and the number of competencies for each domain include Practice-Based Learning and Improvement (5); Patient Care and Procedural Skills (5); System-Based Practice (4); Medical Knowledge (13); Interpersonal and Communication Skills (3); and Professionalism (2) for a total of 32 competencies.

The competencies can be applied to the assessment of learners within a training program, or assessment of existing or planned curricula. The competencies can also be used in the assessment of non-training educational environments.

"A major challenge facing medical educators today is adequately training current and future health care providers in the prevention and treatment of obesity," said the study's lead author Robert Kushner, MD, past president of TOS and professor of medicine at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine in Chicago. "The OMEC obesity-focused competencies provide the framework to improve provider education and thus also improve patient care in the treatment of obesity."

Competency-based medical education focuses on the core knowledge and a set of skills that a health professional needs, yet effective and evidence-based obesity care occurs in a variety of settings, including the community and within the health care delivery system. The proposed standard of care for adults with obesity, developed by the Strategies to Overcome and Prevent (STOP) Obesity Alliance, provides health professionals, payors, community organizations, policymakers and those affected by obesity with guidance on foundational components of evidence-based obesity care.

"Our goal was to develop a practical, tangible, measurable and simple standard of care for the treatment of adult obesity, across care settings and representing practices that positively impact the health of people impacted by obesity," said the study's lead author William H. Dietz, Director of the STOP Obesity Alliance. "The core principles governing the standard of care include shared decision-making, when to use adjunctive therapies, and when to move patients to higher intensity treatments, as well as providing assurance that patients have access to appropriate levels of care, regardless of when they enter the healthcare system."
Other authors of the OMEC study include: Deborah B. Horn, W. Scott Butsch, Joshua D. Brown, Katherine Duncan, Colony S. Fugate, Carol Gorney, Eduardo L. Grunvald, Leon I. Igel, Magdalena Pasarica, Nicholas Pennings, Taraneh Soleymani; and Amanda Velazquez. Christine Gallagher co-authored the STOP Obesity Alliance study.

Funding for the proposed standard of care study came from a sponsored research grant from Novo Nordisk, Inc.

The studies, titled "A Proposed Standard of Obesity Care for All Providers and Payers" and "Development of Obesity Competencies for Medical Education: A Report From the Obesity Medicine Education Collaborative" will both be published online ahead of print. The studies will appear in the July 2019 print issue of Obesity.

About The Obesity Society

The Obesity Society (TOS) is the leading organization of scientists and health professionals devoted to understanding and reversing the epidemic of obesity and its adverse health, economic and societal effects. Combining the perspective of physicians and other clinicians, scientists, policymakers and patients, TOS promotes innovative research, education, and evidence-based clinical care to improve the health and well-being of all people with obesity. For more information, visit and connect with us on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.

About Strategies to Overcome and Prevent (STOP) Obesity Alliance

The Strategies to Overcome and Prevent (STOP) Obesity Alliance is made up of a diverse group of business, consumer, government, advocacy and health organizations dedicated to reversing the obesity epidemic in the United States. Drawing on the strengths of the collaborative, STOP conducts research, makes policy recommendations, and develops hands-on tools for providers, advocacy groups, policymakers and consumers. Celebrating 10 years of making major strides in addressing obesity, STOP continues to drive innovative practical strategies in obesity prevention, care and treatment. Learn more at

The Obesity Society

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