Background

The American Board of Obesity Medicine (ABOM) was established in 2011; however, little is known about the specific clinical obesity services offered by ABOM Diplomates and whether services offered vary by use of obesity medicine guidelines.

Methods

We conducted a cross-sectional analysis examining self-reported obesity medicine practices from the 2019 ABOM Diplomate survey (response rate 19.2%). We determined whether respondents who provided clinical care (n=494) offered: nutrition services, physical activity services, mental health services, FDA-approved anti-obesity medications, supplements, minimally invasive bariatric procedures (e.g., intragastric balloon), or perioperative bariatric surgical care. Using Chi2 tests, we compared whether services differed by endorsement of using any evidence-based obesity medicine guideline (e.g., American Heart Association, Obesity Medicine Association).

Results

Most Diplomates offered nutrition (90.1%), mental health (76.7%), and physical activity services (67.8%) as part of their clinical practice. With respect to medications, 16.6% prescribed no FDA-approved anti-obesity medications, 5.5% only prescribed short-term medications (e.g., phentermine), 7.1% only prescribed long-term medications (e.g., liraglutide), and 70.9% prescribed both short- and long-term medications. Few reported offering supplements (16.4%). Few offered minimally invasive bariatric procedures (24.3%), and most provided bariatric surgical care services (63.0%). Diplomates reporting guideline usage were significantly more likely to provide all services examined – except they were less likely to offer supplements.

Conclusions

The majority of ABOM Diplomates offer evidence-based obesity medicine services, and endorsement of guideline usage was associated with greater likelihood of this care. Based on these results, clinicians may have increased confidence in patient receipt of evidence-based obesity services when referring to an ABOM Diplomate.