Obesity is a widespread disease adversely affecting adult and pediatric populations in the U.S. and negatively impacting all organ systems. It is imperative physicians across all specialties approach obesity as a highly important and distinct condition. Currently, medical knowledge and practice standards deemed important for achieving proficiency in each specialty are influenced by the American Board of Medical Specialties (ABMS) in conjunction with the 24 Member Boards. Each board, except for the American Board of Colon and Rectal Surgery, has a publicly available syllabus for their board certification exam.


We parsed through the 23 syllabi for topic notation indicating coverage of obesity and categorized them into three tiers: Tier 1 indicates specific mention of “obesity,” Tier 2 indicates mention of related terminology, but not of obesity, and Tier 3 indicates no mention of obesity or related terminology.


Our review found 7 syllabi rated tier 1, 10 rated tier 2, and 6 rated tier 3. Our findings highlight specialties strongly affected by obesity, such as Orthopaedic Surgery, that lack exam coverage of obesity.


Given the importance of ABMS in shaping medical practice standards, we advocate for increased coverage of the diagnosis, prevention, and management of obesity across all board examinations