Obesity knowledge in medical students assessed
Recently, a small team of researchers in Norway developed a 20-item questionnaire assessing level of obesity knowledge and published their results in Obesity Facts. The questionnaire was given to a group of final year medical students and the results were compared against a group of experts and a group of first year students. 281 individuals in total took part in the survey, with the majority of these being final year students (226), with 13 experts and 96 first year students. The results showed that experts scored significantly higher than both the final year students and the first year students. In addition to this the final year students scored significantly higher than the first year students, however it was suggested that their level of obesity knowledge was still inadequate, especially with regard to aetiology, diagnosis and treatment aspects.
As obesity is becoming a global problem it is vital that health care providers are given the adequate knowledge and skills in order to effectively tackle the problem. This study suggests that the provision of these skills should start early, even at medical school, for future doctors so that they may have the confidence to appropriately treat patients who are overweight or obese. Further assessment of medical student competency should be carried out so that universities can revise their curricula and improve the standard of care for overweight individuals.