Table of Contents
International Journal of Family Medicine
Volume 2015 (2015), Article ID 841249, 8 pages
Research Article

The Role of Obesity Training in Medical School and Residency on Bariatric Surgery Knowledge in Primary Care Physicians

1Obesity, Metabolism and Nutrition Institute, Gastrointestinal Unit and MGH Weight Center, Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, MA 02114, USA
2Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA 02115, USA
3Harvard Kennedy School of Government, Cambridge, MA 02138, USA
4University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, Pittsburgh, PA 15261, USA
5Department of Community Health and Preventive Medicine, Morehouse School of Medicine, Atlanta, GA 30310, USA

Received 7 June 2015; Accepted 22 July 2015

Academic Editor: Hakan Yaman

Copyright © 2015 Fatima Cody Stanford et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Objective. US primary care physicians are inadequately educated on how to provide obesity treatment. We sought to assess physician training in obesity and to characterize the perceptions, beliefs, knowledge, and treatment patterns of primary care physicians. Methods. We administered a cross-sectional web-based survey from July to October 2014 to adult primary care physicians in practices affiliated with the Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH). We evaluated survey respondent demographics, personal health habits, obesity training, knowledge of bariatric surgery care, perceptions, attitudes, and beliefs regarding the etiology of obesity and treatment strategies. Results. Younger primary care physicians (age 20–39) were more likely to have received some obesity training than those aged 40–49 (OR: 0.08, 95% CI: 0.008–0.822) or those 50+ (OR: 0.03, 95% CI: 0.004–0.321). Physicians who were young, had obesity, or received obesity education in medical school or postgraduate training were more likely to answer bariatric surgery knowledge questions correctly. Conclusions. There is a need for educational programs to improve physician knowledge and competency in treating patients with obesity. Obesity is a complex chronic disease, and it is important for clinicians to be equipped with the knowledge of the multiple treatment modalities that may be considered to help their patients achieve a healthy weight.