Dr. Kelliann Davis, University of Pittsburgh


  • Interprofessional knowledge / skills
  • Obesity as a disease
  • Weight bias / stigma


  • Dietetics / Nutrition
  • Nursing
  • Occupational Therapy
  • Physical Therapy
  • Psychology
  • Public Health
  • Research
  • Social Work

Learner Level

  • Educator
  • Pre-licensure

Instructional Methods

  • Group Discussion
  • Independent Study / Project
  • Self-Reflection / Journaling

Discussion Board Assignment: Obesity Prevention and Treatment

| 3 HRS Explaining The hours

This activity requires students to facilitate a discussion board of a current topic in obesity. The syllabus includes a grading rubric that instructors can use to evaluate competence in facilitating an interprofessional discussion on obesity.


Offered by the Department of Health and Physical Activity in the University of Pittsburgh’s School of Education, the Obesity Prevention and Treatment course is designed to provide students opportunities to understand issues related to obesity, including prevalence rates, dietary considerations, exercise considerations, special population considerations, and behavioral strategies to enhance obesity treatment outcomes.


*** Educators seeking to include this learning activity in their curriculum should review the syllabus posted on the course website. The syllabus includes a grading rubric that instructors can use to evaluate competence in facilitating an interprofessional discussion on obesity. ***

Each student was responsible for facilitating a discussion board of a current topic in obesity worth 50 points toward the final grade for the course. The purpose of this assignment was to critically analyze the multi-faceted problem of obesity and to explore the evidence surrounding these topics in more depth. The aim was for the class to have a well-rounded and current knowledge base of the most current issues surrounding obesity (causes, associations, and treatments). This knowledge is crucial for an evidence-based professional career in any health profession.

The following instructions outline this assignment.

  1. Pick a current news topic that was posted in the last week about obesity from one of the following sources. The instructor recommended that students subscribe to several sources so that they had many topics to choose from.
      Professional research blog that follows the accumulating evidence and observations that shape our view of health policy and obesity
    • Obesity and Energetics Offerings
      Weekly email digest supported by the Indiana University School of Public Health-Bloomington and the University of Alabama at Birmingham’s Nutrition Obesity Research Center
    • The Obesity Society (TOS) eNews
      Tackles today’s most relevant stories, gathered from leading news media sources and other critical industry publications
  2. Create a post to inform classmates of the selected news story and come up with at least 2 relevant questions or thought-provoking reflections to create discussion on the board. Multiple students (4-5) are assigned to lead a board each week, so leaders must try to make it interesting so that other students will want to participate in their board.
  3. Guidelines for post creation and facilitation:
    • Summarize the article, news story, or commentary
    • Attach relevant articles from the story, the original post, and any additional sources of information relevant to readers
    • Provide commentary and the start of a discussion around the topic, highlighting other relevant research or opposing views if desired
    • List at least two clear discussion questions or reflections for classmates to respond to
    • Facilitate the board by responding to posts, asking additional questions, or providing clarification.
      • Leaders must facilitate the board throughout the week, checking it at least 3-4 times to read and respond to all comments
      • At the end of the week, leaders must wrap up the discussion and summarize the main points and areas of agreement or disagreement
  4. The board closes a week after it is posted for the course instructor to review and grade.