Author Biographical Information

Rosanna P. Watowicz, PhD, RD, CSOWM, LD Assistant professor Department of Nutrition Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine Harrine Ramesh Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine M.D. Candidate, Class of 2023


Registered dietitian nutritionists (RDNs)are an integral part of weight management teams; however, previous research indicates that RDNs may hold weight-related biases. Additionally, there may be a gap between what RDNs learn about weight management during their education and training and the competencies that RDNs should achieve before working in weight management. The objective of this study was to examine whether a 15-week graduate course on pediatric obesity led to a short-term increase in self-perceived knowledge of 13 Obesity Medicine Education Collaborative competencies, as well as a short-term decrease in weight bias. Nutrition graduate students enrolled in the course completed a survey before and after the course. The survey asked students to indicate their confidence in each of the 13 knowledge-related obesity competencies using a five-point Likert scale. Weight bias was assessed using the 14-item Fat Phobia Scale. Sixteen students completed both the pre- and post-course questionnaire, and results indicated a significant increase in self-perceived knowledge and decrease in weight bias. A graduate course on obesity may be a strategy for increasing knowledge and decreasing weight bias for dietetic trainees, though additional, larger studies are necessary. A strength of this study is that a standardized set of competencies was used to assess change in self-perceived knowledge; use of standardized competencies in future research will allow studies to be pooled.


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