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"Despite what seems to be widely believed, obesity is not an intractable problem. Yes, it is complex and quite challenging. But our job is to keep working to identify and removed barriers -- both systemic and cultural -- to the prevention and treatment of this widespread, common disease."

Dr. William H. Dietz,
Director, STOP Obesity Alliance

About Us

More than one-third of U.S. adults have obesity, with obesity care costing as much as $210 billion per year. Nonetheless, few health professionals and trainees receive training in the prevention and management of obesity. For example, fewer than 30 percent of medical schools meet the minimum hours of nutrition education recommended by the National Research Council.

Fewer than one-fourth of physicians report feeling adequately trained to counsel their patients on healthy eating or physical activity. While some innovative schools and training programs in some disciplines have prioritized obesity education, no attempts have been made to standardize the minimum level of obesity-related education and training that health professionals should receive.

To fill that critical gap, the Provider Competencies for the Prevention and Management of Obesity were designed by more than 20 leading health organizations representing a dozen health professions. They are aimed at many types of health professionals engaged in obesity prevention and management.

Collectively, the competencies establish a working knowledge of obesity, and are therefore best used together. Recognizing that the depth of knowledge or skill for a given competency will vary based on specialty, each specialty is encouraged to adapt these competencies to fit their needs.

Competency Development Leadership

The Provider Competencies for the Prevention and Management of Obesity were developed by the Provider Training and Education Workgroup of the Integrated Clinical and Social Systems for the Prevention and Management of Obesity Innovation Collaborative, an ad hoc activity associated with the Roundtable on Obesity Solutions at the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine (the National Academies). The responsibility for the content rests with the Innovation Collaborative and not with the National Academies.

Workgroup Chairs

Don Bradley, M.D., MHS-CL
Duke University

William Dietz, M.D., Ph.D.
George Washington University

Supporting Organizations

The development of the competencies was supported by leadership from the following organizations:

Participant Organizations

  • Academy for Eating Disorders
  • Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics
  • Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education
  • American Academy of Family Physicians
  • American Academy of Pediatrics
  • American Association of Colleges of Nursing
  • American Association of Colleges of Osteopathic Medicine
  • American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy
  • American Board of Obesity Medicine
  • American Council of Academic Physical Therapy
  • American Dental Education Association
  • American Kinesiology Association
  • American Psychological Association
  • Association for Prevention Teaching and Research
  • Association of American Medical Colleges
  • Association of Schools and Programs of Public Health
  • Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services
  • Interprofessional Education Collaborative
  • National Organization of Nurse Practitioner Faculties
  • Physician Assistant Education Association
  • Society for Public Health Education
  • Society of Teachers of Family Medicine
  • The Obesity Society
  • YMCA of the USA