American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists Calls for Obesity-Specific Medical Training, Certification to Battle Disease Epidemic

American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists Calls for Obesity-Specific Medical Training, Certification to Battle Disease Epidemic

AACE Public & Media RelationsGlenn Sebold, 904-404-4122

On the heels of a report issued jointly by Trust for America’s Health and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation predicting that more than 44 percent of all American adults will be clinically obese by 2030 and 13 states will have adult obesity rates over 60 percent, the today advanced its 2011 assertion that obesity is a primary disease state and called for the establishment of formalized obesity medicine training, certification programs and collaborative strategies to combat the disease.

The association’s conclusions were contained in an Obesity and Obesity Medicine position statement paper prepared by an AACE task force of 17 endocrinology experts whose rigorous review of available clinical data led to the declaration that obesity is fundamentally more than a consequence of adverse lifestyle choices. The paper was published in the September/October 2012 edition of AACE’s peer-reviewed medical journal ().

“An estimated one-third of Americans are already classified as clinically obese, and this latest study underscores how dire the situation will become unless and until we mobilize the proper resources to address the disease,” said Jeffrey I. Mechanick, MD, FACP, FACE, FACN, ECNU, the paper’s lead author and president-elect of AACE. “It will require organized, methodical, comprehensive and sustained actions necessary to stem the tide of the obesity epidemic.

“Our members’ collective medical knowledge and practical clinical experience allowed us to take the lead to formulate recommendations regarding what we believe are the necessary next steps to combat obesity on multiple levels,” he continued.

Among the task force’s recommendations is the development of comprehensive, formal medical training dedicated to the care of the obese patient with a corresponding certification process to ensure expertise—not just competency—in patient care, with special emphasis on diabetes and cardiovascular disease risk. It is the intent of the task force to take the lead in developing such programs, beginning with web- and case-based programs and progressing to advanced learning modules.

Recognizing the many medical stakeholders involved in the battle against obesity, AACE also plans on actively seeking opportunities to collaborate with other professional medical societies, the government and associated stakeholder groups to enhance multi-disciplinarian patient care efforts.

Further, the association intends to expand its socio-economic and legislative activities in the government, health care policy, scientific research, drug development and public health sectors to advocate for anti-obesity activities and programs.

According to the American Heart Association’s 2012 statistical fact sheet, an estimated 40.1million women and 34.9 million men are classified as clinically obese, which is indicated by a body mass index (BMI) of 30 or greater. If current trends in the growth of obesity continue, total healthcare costs attributed to obesity could reach $957 billion by 2030.

The American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists (AACE) represents more than 6,500 endocrinologists in the United States and abroad. AACE is the largest association of clinical endocrinologists in the world. The majority of AACE members are certified in Endocrinology and Metabolism and concentrate on the treatment of patients with endocrine and metabolic disorders including diabetes, thyroid disorders, osteoporosis, growth hormone deficiency, cholesterol disorders, hypertension and obesity. For more information about AACE, visit the AACE website at , become a fan on Facebook at  or follow AACE on Twitter at .