Geographic Availability of Physicians Certified by the American Board of Obesity Medicine Relative to Obesity Prevalence

Date Published:

2019 Sep 13


OBJECTIVE: The objective of this study is to determine the distribution of adult and pediatric American Board of Obesity Medicine (ABOM) diplomates relative to the prevalence of obesity by US state. METHODS: Data from the ABOM physician directory were used to determine original specialty and US state. Physicians were labeled as "adult medicine" physicians (i.e., internal medicine, family medicine, or internal medicine and pediatrics), "pediatric medicine" physicians (i.e., pediatrics, family medicine, or internal medicine and pediatrics), and "other physicians" (i.e., surgical specialty, other specialty, or unknown). Prevalence of obesity by state, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, was used for adults and adolescents in 2017 and for children in 2014. Counts of ABOM-certified adult medicine physicians and pediatric medicine physicians were conducted relative to obesity prevalence by state. RESULTS: A total of 2,577 US-based ABOM-certified physicians were included (79% from adult medicine, 38% from pediatric medicine, and 15% from other fields). All US states had more than one ABOM-certified adult medicine physician, although geographic disparities existed in physician availability relative to obesity prevalence. Fewer pediatric medicine ABOM diplomates were available in all states. CONCLUSIONS: Promotion of ABOM training and certification in certain geographic locations and among pediatric physicians may help address disparities in ABOM diplomate availability relative to obesity burden.