Thursday, March 20, 2008

A BSc. in Obesity?


According to a newspaper report in yesterday's National Post, the Univesity of Guelph and Humber College are teaming up to create a 4 year degree program in obesity.

To start next fall, the program will aim to train students to work with the obese through courses on nutrition, exercise science, anatomy and "the science behind obesity related diseases".

Graduates will receive two degrees: A BSc. in kinesiology from Guelph and a diploma in fitness and health promotion from Humber College. According to the University of Guelph's press release they will then be,

"qualified to work as personal trainers, kinesiologists, wellness consultants and fitness practitioners in both clinical and rehabilitation settings."
For me, this hammers home two messages:

Firstly, that clearly there's a crying need for more health professionals trained in obesity management.

Secondly, that medical schools and residency programs are failing our obese patients.

Frankly in an ideal world, I don't think obesity management should be a University course. The reason you don't see 4 year degrees in blood pressure or diabetes is because doctors are taught how to adequately manage those conditions in medical school and residency. Unfortunately the same cannot be said for obesity.

In my ideal world obesity medicine would be a sub specialty program within the department of Family Medicine and/or a real 5 year physician specialist program.

If you're interested in the course, you'd better have good grades - they've already received 430 applications for the 60 available spots.