UMass Worcester PRC Publications

UMMS Affiliation

Department of Population and Quantitative Health Sciences, Division of Preventive and Behavioral Medicine; Graduate School of Nursing; UMass Worcester Prevention Research Center

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Document Type



Behavioral Medicine | Community Health and Preventive Medicine | Dietetics and Clinical Nutrition | Health Services Administration | Integrative Medicine | Medical Education | Nutritional and Metabolic Diseases | Preventive Medicine | Primary Care | Psychiatry and Psychology | Translational Medical Research


Obesity is a serious chronic disease whose prevalence has grown to epidemic proportions over the past five decades and is a major contributor to the global burden of most common cancers, heart disease, Type 2 diabetes, liver disease, and sleep apnea. Primary care clinicians, including physicians, nurse practitioners, and physician assistants, are often the first health care professionals to identify obesity or overweight during routine long-term care and have the opportunity to intervene to prevent and treat disease. However, they often lack the training and skills needed to deliver scientifically validated, behavior-based treatments. These gaps must be addressed in order to treat the obesity epidemic. The Society of Behavioral Medicine strongly urges health professional educators and accrediting agencies to include obesity and overweight management education for primary care clinicians. Additionally, we support promoting referrals and reimbursement for psychologists, dieticians, and other health care professionals as critical members of the care team and improving reimbursement levels for behavioral obesity and overweight management treatment.


Weight management, obesity, overweight, primary care intervention, primary care training, behavioral medicine

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© The Author(s) 2020. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the Society of Behavioral Medicine. This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial License (, which permits non-commercial re-use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. For commercial re-use, please contact

DOI of Published Version



Ockene JK, Ashe K, Peterson KS, Fitzgibbon M, Buscemi J, Dulin A. Society of Behavioral Medicine Call to Action: Include obesity/overweight management education in health professional curricula and provide coverage for behavior-based treatments of obesity/overweight most commonly provided by psychologists, dieticians, counselors, and other health care professionals and include such providers on all multidisciplinary teams treating patients who have overweight or obesity. Transl Behav Med. 2020 Apr 3:ibaa030. doi: 10.1093/tbm/ibaa030. Epub ahead of print. PMID: 32242625. Link to article on publisher's site

Journal/Book/Conference Title

Translational behavioral medicine

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Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 4.0 License