News and Trends—February 2016

| February 1, 2016

News from the American Board of Obesity Medicine

American Board of Obesity Medicine Continues Rapid Growth—Diplomates in United States and Canada Soar to Nearly 1,600

Denver, Colorado—More than 400 physicians were certified as obesity medicine specialists last week, when the results of the 2015 American Board of Obesity Medicine (ABOM) certification exam were released by the National Board of Medical Examiners. With a record 429 examinees passing the test administered in December 2015, including 419 first-time diplomates, the total number of ABOM diplomates throughout the United States and Canada soared to nearly 1,600.

“We are excited to see this tremendous growth, because it means there are more physicians equipped with the tools necessary to treat the disease of obesity,” said ABOM Executive Director Dana Brittan.

The 429 physicians who passed the test include 10 doctors who recertified. The latest group includes internists (141), family physicians (123), endocrinologists (33), pediatricians (28), obstetricians/gynecologists (24), gastroenterologists (14), and surgeons (10).

In the last two years, a total of 761 first-time diplomates have passed the ABOM exam. ABOM Board Chairman Dr. Louis Aronne points out that, according to 2014 data, there are now more obesity medicine physicians certified annually than certificates issued in infectious disease (341), endocrinology (299), rheumatology (202), or geriatric medicine (163).

“I’m excited to see that obesity medicine has become one of the fastest growing specialties in medicine,” said Aronne. “The rapid growth of obesity medicine demonstrates that an increasing number of physicians understand that obesity is a disease that contributes to their patients’ health and that training in obesity medicine is an important part of clinical practice.”

About the American Board of Obesity Medicine. Established in 2011, the American Board of Obesity Medicine (ABOM) serves the public and the field of obesity medicine by maintaining standards for assessment and credentialing physicians. Certification as an ABOM diplomate signifies specialized knowledge in the practice of obesity medicine and distinguishes a physician as having achieved competency in obesity care. Learn more at

ABOM Announces 2016 Board of Directors Updates
Denver, Colorado—The American Board of Obesity Medicine is pleased to announce the following changes to the 2016 Board of Directors. Effective January 1:
Louis J. Aronne, MD, who has served on the board of directors since the inception of ABOM in 2011, assumed the position of Chairman of the Board of Directors.
Jennifer Seger, MD joined the board as director.
Edmond P. Wickham III, MD joined the board as director.

News from the Society of American Gastrointestinal and Endoscopic Surgeons

SAGES Announces 2016 Keynote Lectures and TEDx Talks
Los Angeles, California—SAGES announced Keynote Lectures for the SAGES Annual Meeting at the Hynes Veterans Memorial Convention Center in Boston, MA from Wednesday, March 16 – Saturday, March 19, 2016.

New Speakers were also confirmed for TEDx Session “Thriving Over Surviving,” which will take place at 7:00 PM on Thursday, March 17, in the Westin Copley Place Hotel – America Ballroom.
Please visit to learn more.

FES, FLS and FUSE Test Appointments Available at SAGES 2016!
Testing will take place during the SAGES Annual Meeting at the Hynes Veterans Memorial Convention Center in Boston, MA from Wednesday, March 16 – Saturday, March 19, 2016.

For more information or to purchase your test voucher and schedule your appointment please visit the relevant websites below:

Also, SAGES is excited to announce that beginning with exams taken on January 1, 2016, all North American General Surgery Residents that do not successfully pass the FES exam will be eligible to receive one free re-test voucher. With the ABS Flexible Endoscopy Curriculum requirement applying to certification applicants who complete their residency training in the 2017-2018 academic year, it is our hope that this initiative will give Residency Coordinators and Program Directors the extra incentive they need to begin testing now.

In addition to the annual testing events at the SAGES Annual Meeting and ACS Clinical Congress, residents can utilize over 40 regional FES test centers.

Instructions on how to claim re-test vouchers will be included in results letters as applicable. The free re-test voucher will be valid for either a partial or complete retest and is limited to one per resident. Limit 160 Residents, distributed in the order requests are received. Standard re-test waiting periods apply. Once claimed, re-test vouchers will have a 12-month expiration period.

For instructions on how to purchase test vouchers, please visit:

For a complete list of test centers, please visit:

For more information about the ABS Flexible Endoscopy Curriculum, please visit:

News from the Obesity Action Coalition

Obesity Action Coalition Meets with Senate Staff on Capitol Hill
Washington, DC and Tampa, Florida—The OAC visited Washington, DC, last month to spread the word about the importance of obesity care and treatment! Numerous OAC National Board of Directors members and OAC staff members visited 20 U.S. Senators’ offices to educate Senate staff on obesity treatments, and the importance of legislation that would provide for access to weight management tools for individuals affected by the disease of obesity.

The primary topics of the visits were obesity treatment coverage under Medicare, the Treat and Reduce Obesity Act and a recent report on policy options for chronic diseases published by the Senate Finance Committee’s Chronic Disease Working Group.

OAC President and CEO Joe Nadglowski said most of the staff members the OAC spoke with were “cautiously optimistic” that the Senate would introduce legislation this year that addresses chronic diseases among Medicare recipients, and that this legislation would help at least partially with the OAC’s efforts to have obesity addressed by the Senate.

“I feel overall that the meetings were successful,” said OAC President and CEO Joe Nadglowski. “The OAC’s positive relationships with members of Congress and their staff were definitely on display during the meetings.”

Does Gender Expression Impact Weight? New Research Ties Masculinity to Higher BMI for Young People
Conforming to gender norms can impact healthy behaviors for youth and could be key for targeting obesity prevention & treatment efforts

SILVER SPRING, MD – The first long-term research study of its kind ties masculine gender expression, or how much an individual conforms to masculine norms, to higher Body Mass Index (BMI) in youth. In particular, researchers led by S. Bryn Austin, ScD, from Boston Children’s Hospital, found that societal pressures on young males to be larger than other boys their age may place them at higher risk for an increase in BMI. The research is published in the February issue of Obesity, the scientific journal of The Obesity Society.

“Because thinness is not consistent with dominant cultural standards of masculinity, young people who conform to masculine norms may be more likely than other youth to engage in unhealthy behaviors such as high-calorie food consumption, overeating and sedentary behaviors,” explains Dr. Austin. “While females who identify with being more masculine are at risk for a higher BMI than their more feminine peers, males who identify as being masculine face a larger challenge: both higher BMI and more rapid BMI gains.”
To conduct the study, the researchers examined data from the Growing Up Today Study (GUTS), which collected survey data over a 15-year period from nearly 10,000 young people, 10 to 23 years, living across the United States. The researchers found that in females, greater conformity to masculine norms was linked with a higher BMI at age 17 years (BMI 23.3 kg/m2 for more masculine females vs. BMI 21.3 kg/m2 for more feminine females), but did not lead to more rapid gains in BMI over time. For males, greater conformity with masculine norms was linked with higher BMI (BMI 23.7 kg/m2 for more masculine males vs. BMI 22.8 kg/m2 for more feminine males at age 17 years). The study found that by age 23 years, the most gender conforming males had a mean BMI fully two BMI units higher than gender nonconforming males.

The researchers also looked at the data for sexual minorities (e.g. lesbians, gay men, bisexuals) compared to their heterosexual peers and found that sexual minority females on average had higher BMIs, whereas sexual minority males had lower BMIs. These results may be due in part to gender non-conforming related to identification with masculinity.

According to the paper, “In U.S. society, youth are inundated with messages from media, peers and family about cultural expectations of gender expression for girls and women, boys and men. Evidence is accumulating that these messages carry with them health risks in myriad domains.”

“Clearly, there are powerful societal influences at play that tie into youth’s weight-related behaviors and ultimately their health,” says Dana Rofey, PhD, a spokesperson for The Obesity Society and Assistant Professor at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine. “This valuable understanding of gender norms can help researchers, clinicians and policymakers design obesity interventions that target gender expression, which may pose barriers to a healthy weight. For providers especially, it may be helpful to talk with young people about the kinds of gender-related pressures they are experiencing that could have a negative impact on weight and health.”

According to Dr. Rofey, future research on gender expression should examine differences between how young people specify their own gender expression versus how they think others define their gender expression.

“As gender is performative (e.g., putting on makeup) and relational (e.g., dressing more feminine compared to peers), attention to contexts and settings in which youth express themselves as more masculine or more feminine is needed,” explains Dr. Rofey in a commentary* accompanying the study.

Limitations to the study include that a single measure was used to assess gender expression, and that the GUTS data is neither racially/ethnically or economically diverse, nor is it representative of the U.S. population. Additionally, BMI can sometimes increase as a result of muscle mass and is not always necessarily tied to an unhealthy weight.
Read the full paper published in Obesity, the official journal of The Obesity Society at, and read the accompanying commentary (

Note: *The commentary is not officially endorsed by TOS.

About The Obesity Society. The Obesity Society (TOS) is the leading professional society dedicated to better understanding, preventing and treating obesity. Through research, education and advocacy, TOS is committed to improving the lives of those affected by the disease. For more information visit:


Category: News and Trends, Past Articles

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