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  1. Childress, Allison PhD, RDN, CSSD, LD
  2. Klobodu, Seth S. PhD
  3. Chrisman, Matthew PhD
  4. Bailey, Dylan MS, RD, FAND
  5. Kerin, Allison MS, RDN, LD
  6. Benavides, Marqui L. MS, RDN, LD


This study aimed to determine the breadth to which obesity education is included in US dietetic internships, how it is prioritized, and the perceived barriers to providing optimal obesity curricula in dietetic internships. A 27-item, cross-sectional survey was emailed to 335 dietetic internship program administrators in the United States and Puerto Rico. Data were analyzed using general descriptive statistics. A total of 83 administrators (25%) participated. Only 26 dietetic internship programs (34%) reported their interns were "very prepared" to manage patients with obesity. Thirty-six percent had no obesity education programs in place, and 65% noted obesity education is not taught as a specific clinical rotation. Forty percent of administrators believed obesity education to be a specific competency for dietetic internships, and 33% viewed expansion of obesity education as a low priority. Lack of room in the current curriculum was the predominant barrier (22%) to integrating obesity education, whereas lack of interest was not (74%). Administrators reported their interns generally had "some to great extent" of knowledge on comorbidities of obesity (60%), but knowledge of obesity etiology and assessment was low (33%). Fifty-eight percent of dietetic internship programs did not provide weight bias training. Despite the expectation that registered dietitian nutritionists are primary educators in obesity management, US dietetic internships may not be adequately preparing their students to manage patients with obesity. Contributing factors to this disconnect should be recognized, and barriers minimized, so that optimal obesity training is provided in dietetic internships.