A new systematic review provides recommendations on designing educational interventions to enhance the understanding of obesity and improve management skills within the curriculum for medical students.
The study by researchers at Queen’s University, Ontario, Canada, published in the journal Obesity Reviews, analyses the impact of educational interventions to equip undergraduate/graduate medical students with obesity management skills.
Although obesity is prevalent globally and recognised to be associated with multiple comorbidities, the need for specific focus and training on this within the curriculum of medical students has not been recognised by most medical schools. Katz and colleagues reviewed 17 studies on the effectiveness of educational interventions aimed at teaching management of patients with obesity to medical students. Following their analysis, the authors produced the following list of evidence-based recommendations for designing such interventions:
- A brief intervention (under three hours) may be sufficient to create lasting changes
- Video-clips are an effective medium for delivering content
- As a minimum, students should be taught the pathophysiology of obesity
- Students should be taught behavioural change techniques from Psychology literature
- Students’ role legitimacy – whether they see obesity management as part of their job -should be addressed
- It is important for the intervention to include an in-person component
- The intervention should be delivered during the first or second year of medical school
The study also observed an increase in studies reporting educational interventions focusing on obesity management over the past decade, indicating that calls from professional bodies to address the lack of such interventions may have been successful. However, they note that there is still a lack of studies published in this area overall, indicating that further interventions are needed.
The authors express their hope that, by assessing gaps in existing medical curricula and highlighting existing interventions, they will “create a foundation for future educational resources that increase physician confidence and skills in managing patients with obesity.”
The full study, Undergraduate medical education interventions aimed at managing patients with obesity: A systematic review of educational effectiveness, is available to read in Obesity Reviews via Early View.
About Obesity Reviews
Obesity Reviews is the official reviews journal of the World Obesity Federation, publishing reviews on all disciplines related to obesity and its comorbidities. With an Impact Factor of 9.213, it is the highest ranked obesity journal (ISI Journal Citation Reports).Obesity reviews