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The Global Obesity Crisis: Implementing Bariatric Care Into Healthcare Education Training

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Published on March 14, 2023 at 8:16:25 AM PDT March 14, 2023 at 8:16:25 AM PDTth, March 14, 2023 at 8:16:25 AM PDT

Obesity has become increasingly prevalent in recent years among Americans and has been at the forefront of conversation in the health sphere due to these rising rates. In 2020, the prevalence of obesity in U.S. adults was estimated to be 42.4%, with worldwide rates having tripled from 1975 (4). With the severity of this disease, it’s more crucial than ever to raise awareness and education, as well as place an importance on training future healthcare professionals on how to care for bariatric patients. Organized by the World Obesity Federation, March 4th is recognized annually as World Obesity Day to shed light on the global obesity crisis. Their goal is to end prejudice and bias against obese individuals while simultaneously highlighting the various factors that contribute to high obesity rates. Continue reading to learn more about obesity factors and the training methods instructors can implement to break down the barriers for caring for bariatric patients. 

Factors + Obesity in The Media 

There are several components that can play a role in causing obesity, including social, emotional, environmental, and medical factors. Various social determinants of health (SODH), or the conditions in which we live, learn, work, and play (1), impact our decisions surrounding food. When these conditions do not support health, it makes it harder for individuals to make healthy food choices. While obesity does not define an individual, and there has been increased representation in the media showcasing all body types, it is important to note the severe dangers of obesity. Being excessively overweight or obese puts individuals at increased risk for serious diseases and medical conditions including high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, stroke, and many more (2). 

Training for Bariatric Patient Care 

While it is important to note there is a difference in caring for and treating patients with obesity, it is equally as important to reduce the stigma and prejudice against obese individuals in healthcare environments. Proper training for future healthcare professionals can help to reduce the medical bias that has been reportedly experienced by those with obesity. Good bariatric care requires not only special handling equipment with appropriate weight ratings, but also solutions that take into account the associated care required for patients of different body shapes. 

Obesity’s high prevalence and many comorbidities make it a top priority for instructors with regards to implementing simulation training catered to addressing the disease. The Pocket Nurse® SimObesity® Shirt is one way instructors can create realistic bariatric care simulation scenarios for their students. Created to enhance simulations, the Pocket Nurse® SimObesity® Shirt is a full body obesity suit that includes both arms and legs in one piece. It includes access for perineal care and IM/SubQ injections, features realistically muffled chest and heart sounds for auscultation and fits almost any adult manikin including Laerdal, CAE, Gaumard and Nasco models. DiaMedical also offers the Pocket Nurse® SimObesity® Shirt JR, designed to fit almost any pediatric manikin sized 4-7 years old. This product allows instructors to simulate the correct patient positioning for optimal cardiovascular function for bariatric patients. It also teaches students to recognize how patient size can affect assessing vitals and administering injections. Our Simulated Patient Positioning & Body Mechanics Tuesday Teachings video featuring the obesity suit is a great resource for educators looking to implement bariatric care training into their programs as it demonstrates several core competencies for students. 

Final Thoughts

In the midst of an obesity epidemic, it is vital that healthcare providers understand the effects of obesity and are equipped with the tools and resources required to provide comprehensive patient care (3). Therefore, faculty must prioritize integrating and emphasizing specialized care for persons who are obese. Even though medical complications and conditions may be addressed differently in bariatric patients, there does not need to be a stigma or prejudice when acknowledging differences in the necessary care. With products like the Sim U Suit, the DiaMedical team is prepared to help instructors balance cost and functionality in order to find the right tools to meet the learning needs of their students. For more information, reach out to a DiaMedical expert at 877-593-6011 or info@diamedicalusa.com.


  • Causes of Obesity. (2022, March 21). Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. https://www.cdc.gov/obesity/basics/causes.html 
  • Health Effects of Overweight and Obesity. (2022, September 24). Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. https://www.cdc.gov/healthyweight/effects/index.html 
  • Mangold, K. & Markiewicz, K. (2014). Integrating an obesity simulation into baccalaureate nursing education. Clinical Simulation in Nursing, 10, 476-484. 
  • Yashi, K. (2022, July 15). Rising Obesity Rates in America - A Public Health Crisis. Obesity Medicine Association. https://obesitymedicine.org/rising-obesity-rates-in-america-a-public-health-crisis/