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Pediatrics / Cook Lab / Health Services Research on Obesity

Health Services Research on Obesity

Studies evaluating the impact of early identification and early preventive counseling in the primary care practices are underway. Our research seeks to support our hypothesis, that in order to improve childhood obesity, pediatricians and primary care physicians:

  1. Need to fully adopt BMI screening for obesity
  2. Should adopt the AAP guidelines for screening, prevention and management of childhood obesity as part of the routine well child visits
  3. Need tool kits and resources to increase screening and counseling, and improve the quality of care with regard to obesity

Research initiatives in this field include:

A study using a national data set involving primary care visits reported low levels of documentation of obesity in children indicating that obesity is under diagnosed. See "National Survey Shows Childhood Obesity Under-diagnosed" In addition, the study showed that when obesity was identified the rates of screening and counseling greatly increased. This was the first study from a national sample of primary care physicians that provided valuable insight to the level of care that children receive with regard to identifying issues with obesity in children and adolescents.

A collaboration lead by Dr. Jonathan Klein of Adolescent Medicine, supported by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, is conducting a two phase study to:

  1. Review literature on BMI use in pediatrics and conduct focus groups with primary care physicians on barriers and needs for obesity screening and management.
  2. Conduct a national survey of pediatricians and family physicians to examine the practices currently employed during this current obesity epidemic.

A recent survey to pediatricians and pediatric nurse practitioners was conducted in Monroe County to assess the local needs. This study identified the knowledge, attitudes and beliefs around childhood obesity in the primary care setting. This needs assessment provided feedback regarding the need for the tools and resources for effective obesity prevention and management.

We are completing a practice level intervention to improve obesity screening and counseling. This study involved changing well child visit forms, providing tools and BMI growth curves in charts, calculation of BMI at well child visits, and simple provider tools to initiate treatment.