NUMBER OF ABOM DIPLOMATES
Affecting nearly 40 percent of U.S. adults, obesity contributes to heart disease, cancer, diabetes, stroke and other musculoskeletal and vascular problems. Obesity has been officially recognized as a disease by the American Medical Association since 2013, and most doctors want to help patients lose weight. However, physicians often have little or no training in weight management and nutrition and are unfamiliar with appropriate management and treatment guidelines. A newly published study in the journal Obesity found that health care provider understanding of the appropriate clinical care for obesity is inconsistent with evidence-based recommendations.
“The rapid growth of obesity medicine certification highlights the fact that physicians now recognize they need tools to help treat the many patients they see with obesity,” said ABOM Executive Director Dana Brittan. “The certification process helps provide those tools, and the certification itself sends a signal to other physicians and the public that there are doctors ready, willing and able to support patients with obesity.”
Many physicians are more comfortable treating the problems caused by obesity rather than the disease itself. However, the increase in the number of physicians and specialties achieving ABOM diplomate status demonstrates significant interest from the medical community in understanding effective treatment options and practical tools for obesity and weight management. Furthermore, ABOM certification has the potential to add value to hospitals and other medical institutions that want to demonstrate the knowledge and expertise their staff contributes to patient care and research.
“The growing number of physicians seeking obesity medicine certification comes from many different fields of medicine. This illustrates the recognition by the medical community that physicians need to treat their patients struggling with obesity, and with the right training, they can be successful in doing so,” said ABOM Board Chairman John Cleek, M.D. “There isn’t a doctor in the U.S. or Canada who can go a day without seeing a patient affected by obesity. And now, many of these physicians are taking proactive steps so they can address this issue directly instead of treating all of the other conditions that accompany obesity.”
The 583 physicians who passed the most recent ABOM certification exam include internists (235), family physicians (176), pediatricians (43), endocrinologists (39), obstetricians/gynecologists (28), gastroenterologists (16) and surgeons (11), along with numerous other specialists. The total number of new diplomates includes 26 from Canada.
Certification as an ABOM diplomate signifies specialized knowledge in the practice of obesity medicine and distinguishes a physician as having achieved competency in obesity care, with ABOM diplomates incorporating obesity medicine into their everyday practices or devoting themselves full time to the treatment of obesity. The number of first-time ABOM certificates issued annually now exceeds those of other fields such as infectious disease, endocrinology and rheumatology.
Click here to see a full list of new diplomates.