Coverage of obesity and obesity disparities on American Board of Medical Specialties (ABMS) examinations.

Journal Article (Journal Article)

Obesity is a widespread disease which adversely impacts all organ systems and disproportionately affects African Americans and other minority groups. Physicians across medical specialties must possess current knowledge of obesity as an important, distinct disease with biological and social causes. Coverage of obesity on board certification examinations, which influence standards in medical knowledge and practice in each specialty, has not previously been examined. The member boards of the American Board of Medical Specialties offer a content outline or "blueprint" detailing material tested. We parsed the 24 available general certification exam blueprints for mentions of obesity and related keywords. We categorized blueprints into three tiers: mention of obesity (Tier 1), mention of related terminology but not obesity (Tier 2), and no mention of obesity or related terminology (Tier 3). We analyzed mentions of obesity and related terms by blueprint word count and procedural versus non-procedural specialties. Six (25.0%) of 24 board exam blueprints mentioned obesity (Tier 1), fifteen (62.5%) mentioned related terminology only (Tier 2), and three (12.5%) mentioned neither obesity nor related terminology (Tier 3). There was no significant difference in obesity-related mentions between procedural and non-procedural specialties (X2 , p = .50). None of the blueprints included racial/ethnic disparities related to obesity. Word count was not significantly correlated with mentions of obesity in linear regression (p = .42). The absence of any mention of obesity on most content outlines and of racial/ethnic disparities on all content outlines indicates need for increased coverage of the diagnosis, prevention, and treatment of obesity across all board examinations.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Yarlagadda, S; Townsend, MJ; Palad, CJ; Stanford, FC

Published Date

  • April 16, 2021

Published In

PubMed ID

  • 33875239

Pubmed Central ID

  • PMC8521551

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1943-4693

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 0027-9684

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1016/j.jnma.2021.03.004


  • eng