Wednesday, April 19, 2006

The American Board of Bariatric Medicine

Did you know that the only medical body in North America that offers any form of certification in Obesity Medicine is the American Board of Bariatric Medicine?

I find it astounding that despite weight and diet related illness being the second most preventable cause of death in North America, contributing billions of dollars in health care costs and dramatically affecting patients' qualities of life, that there is only one organization specifically designed to certify and educate physicians in the whys and wherefores of weight management.

Having gone to medical school in the 1990s, I can tell you first hand that weight management was certainly not something discussed in more than an, "eat less, exercise more" manner.

While at the end of the day of course that's what weight loss comes down to, weight is complicated. It's a complex interplay involving genetics, learned behaviour, co-existing medical problems, medication, and lifestyle and there's no question that the average family doctor probably was not taught enough to properly address it.

I can only hope that over the course of the coming years, medical schools and residency programs start taking obesity seriously and help educate future physicians not only in weight management, but also helps teach them how to compassionately address this sensitive and complicated issue.