The American Board of Obesity Medicine (ABOM) was established through the cooperative efforts of the former American Board of Bariatric Medicine (ABBM) and the Certified Obesity Medicine Physician (COMP) steering committee in order to create a single unified certification process. The ABBM was an independent entity that had been administering an examination in obesity medicine since 1997. Formally, the ABOM was established in 2011 to serve the public and the field of obesity medicine through the establishment and maintenance of criteria and procedures for examination and certification of candidate physicians who seek recognition of their accomplishments in obesity medicine. Physicians who complete the ABOM certification process in obesity medicine are designated Diplomates of the American Board of Obesity Medicine.
National studies have shown that obesity counseling rates remain low among health care professionals. The reasons vary and include time restraints during a busy practice, lack of effective treatment options and practical tools, low confidence or insufficient training in weight management skills and counseling, or concern that raising the topic will be interpreted by the patient as being insensitive. These data suggests that there is an extensive gap between recommended obesity care and current physician practice. To address this need, an increasing number of physicians are devoting a portion of their practice to obesity care. The ABOM administers the Certification Examination for Obesity Medicine Physicians once per year with the guidance of the National Board of Medical Examiners (NBME).
Physicians taking the Certification Examination for Obesity Medicine Physicians come from many fields of medicine. The average distribution of medical specialties is as follows:
Family Medicine: 28%
Internal Medicine: 45%