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June 8, 2015

American Medical Association Works to Improve Obesity Education

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The Obesity Medicine Association (OMA), working with the American Medical Association (AMA), took another step toward improving obesity education.

The AMA will work with accrediting organizations to analyze the state of improving obesity education in medical schools and for physicians in training, identify organizations that provide good educational toolkits and resources, and finally, make recommendations to address those gaps.

“This resolution puts the AMA in a position to make a real difference in how obesity is treated in this country,” said Dr. Ethan Lazarus, OMA’s AMA delegate. “We have to educate our future doctors about treating a disease that continues to affect more than one-third of the population.”

Dr. Lazarus added, “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.”

This action by the AMA follows its recognition that obesity is a disease in 2013 and its advocacy efforts in 2014 to improve patient access to evidence-based obesity treatment as well as provide insurance coverage for these treatments.

“We wanted to introduce a resolution that goes beyond recognition and truly creates a call-to-action for obesity education in medical schools,” said Dr. Carolynn Francavilla, OMA’s alternate AMA delegate.

Drs. Lazarus and Francavilla also hosted the first-ever obesity caucus at the annual meeting. The caucus brought together leaders from many organizations as well as AMA staffers involved in the AMA’s efforts to improve health outcomes. Participants at the caucus worked on developing collaborative initiatives to further improve treatment and prevention of obesity, reduce weight bias, improve obesity education, and help reverse the obesity pandemic.