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Obesity Underrepresented in Medical Licensing Exams

Exam items primarily address diagnosis and treatment of obesity-related comorbid conditions

weighing patient

FRIDAY, Jan. 20, 2017 (HealthDay News) -- The most important concepts of obesity prevention and treatment are not adequately represented on the U.S. Medical Licensing Examination (USMLE) Step examinations, according to a study published recently in Teaching and Learning in Medicine.

Six obesity specialists examined the obesity-related content of the three USMLE Step exams taken by medical students and residents.

The researchers found that exam items about obesity focused on assessment and management of obesity-related illnesses such as diabetes and obstructive sleep disorder, rather than the diagnosis and management of obesity itself. The investigators also found that important concepts of obesity prevention and treatment were poorly represented.

"The most important concepts of obesity prevention and treatment were not represented on the Step exams," the authors write. "The expert review panel identified numerous important obesity-related topics that were insufficiently addressed or entirely absent from the examinations. The reviewers recommend that the areas identified for improvement may promote a more balanced testing of knowledge in obesity."

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