American Medical Association Boosts Obesity Education for Doctors

This week, at the American Medical Association's annual meeting, members of the American Society of Bariatric Physicians helped to advance efforts to better educate doctors about obesity and its treatment. The move comes two years after the AMA reclassified obesity as a disease.

It’s long been a debate: Is obesity a disease? It’s a topic that constantly alternates between yes and no in various segments of society, though the medical world seems to lean in favor of yes.

One thing’s for certain though: Doctors may need help to better understand how to properly treat patients who are obese. And a new partnership between the American Medical Association (AMA) and the American Society of Bariatric Physicians (ASBP) could help encourage doctors to move a little further in that direction.

On Monday,AMA announced it would launch an analysis of obesity education in medical schools, with the goal of improving training for those focused on treating the disease. The move is a win for the ASBP, which has emphasized that traditional suggestions offered by medical experts aren’t enough.

“Most physicians in this country received little to no training with regards to obesity and continue to counsel patients affected by weight to eat less and exercise more. Current science does not support this as an effective and sustainable treatment strategy,” Dr. Ethan Lazarus, ASBP’s member delegate for the AMA, said in a news release.

The plan comes as treatment strategies for obesity have shifted in recent years. In 2013, the AMA announced that, for the first time, it would classify obesity as a disease, and since then, the association has been working to promote medical treatments as a potential solution to the problem. Earlier this year, the Journal of the American Medical Association published a study showing that obese people who had bariatric surgery for weight loss were likely to live longer than those who had not had the surgery.

The announcement, which took place at AMA’s annual meeting in Chicago, coincided with the first meeting of the AMA obesity caucus, which was led by two ASBP members—Dr. Lazurus and Dr. Carolynn Francavilla.

“We wanted to introduce a resolution that goes beyond recognition and truly creates a call-to-action for obesity education in medical schools,” Francavilla added.


Ernie Smith

By Ernie Smith

Ernie Smith is a former senior editor for Associations Now. MORE

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