Physicians rush to get certified in obesity medicine

Nearly 1,900 U.S. physicians have applied to become certified in obesity medicine — a record number — according to data from the American Board of Obesity Medicine. 

In October, 1,889 physicians will take the exam to become certified in the specialty area. That's up from 1,001 exam candidates in 2020, marking an 88.7 percent jump. Physicians' growing interest in the certification comes amid booming patient demand for GLP-1 receptor agonist drugs such as Ozempic and Wegovy. As of August, 2023 sales for Ozempic in the U.S. topped $3 billion. 

More than 6,700 physicians are certified in obesity medicine, a certification that first became available in 2012. For the upcoming exam in October, 38 percent of exam candidates are internal medicine physicians and 30 percent family medicine. To sit for the exam, physicians must have completed a minimum of 60 continuing medical education credits on the topic of obesity. 

"We hear from our [diplomats] that they seek certification to demonstrate their knowledge and skill in treating obesity — an area that many have learned little about during their prior medical training," Judith Korner, MD, PhD, board chair of the American Board of Obesity Medicine, said in a Sept. 20 statement. "With recognition of obesity as a complex chronic disease and continuing advancements in effective treatment options, we believe the desire to provide the best possible care for patients with obesity will continue to attract physicians to this rapidly growing field."

The ABOM was established in 2011. 

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