New reports provide guidance for obesity care

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.

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