Rates of childhood obesity in the U.S. remain at historic highs. Before the age of 11 years, 18% of all children in the U.S. are already obese; 26% of Hispanic and 24% of Black children are obese. Pediatric primary care settings are underutilized in preventing and treating childhood obesity. An evidence-based method for treatment of childhood obesity to help engage and motivate patients is Motivational Interviewing (MI). One recent successful study, BMI2 (for Brief Motivational Interviewing to Reduce Child Body Mass Index) directed at the parents of children in pediatric care practices lowered BMI significantly. MI-based approaches have been particularly successful for racial/ethnic minorities and low-income populations. However, the targeted MI dose of BMI2 requires significant resources, with MI sessions administered by the PCP and a registered dietician. It is unclear whether the impressive results of BMI2 can be replicated in a health care system with real-world conditions. It is challenging to find an effective intervention that is feasible and sustainable without requiring significant resources. Our overall goal is to reduce excess body weight in children in primary care. We will conduct a cluster-randomized pragmatic trial in 36 pediatric clinics in Kaiser Permanente Southern California (KPSC) to test the effectiveness of a modified version of BMI2 intervention in pediatric clinics (18 intervention, 18 usual care with attention control, = 10,800 children). The clinics serve over 45,000 children aged 2-8 yrs who are overweight or obese with high racial/ethnic and socioeconomic diversity (53% Hispanic; 23% state- subsidized insurance). Using MI techniques, PCPs will initiate and maintain discussion about weight management with parent (6 x 20 min) and refer patients electronically to experienced and MI-trained lifestyle coaches. With full access to the EMR, coaches will call referred families (child?s BMI-for-age ?85th percentile) and deliver intervention via telephonic MI counseling over two years (6 x 45 min). Usual care clinics with attention control will include regular encounters and educational videos as attention control. Primary Aim: Determine the effectiveness and dose-response relationship of a pragmatic, system-integrated childhood obesity intervention using mBMI2Kids (a modified BMI2 approach) on BMI at 2-yr follow-up. Secondary Aim: Investigate how patient characteristics such as minority or low-income background and parental obesity modify the effect of the mBMI2Kids intervention (Heterogeneity of effects). IMPACT: This study has the potential for a highly significant shift in pediatric primary care practices. Our results will provide valuable guidance to providers and health care systems to help them effectively halt and reverse the childhood obesity epidemic. Our results can be quickly translated into other clinical care settings and endorse the meaningful use of EMR systems to support providers using tools and centralized approaches that make interventions scalable.

Public Health Relevance

Primary care settings lack interventions to address the childhood obesity epidemic that are feasible and sustainable without requiring significant resources. We propose to modify and test an intervention shown to lower children?s BMI so that it is feasible, sustainable, and easily disseminated in a real-world clinical setting. If successful, we will be able to provide recommendations to providers and health care systems that help prioritize future intervention strategies and research investments to reduce obesity in children that can be quickly translated into other settings and widely adopted after the study period, with the goal of halting and reversing the childhood obesity epidemic.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK)
Research Project (R01)
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Psychosocial Risk and Disease Prevention Study Section (PRDP)
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Osganian, Voula
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Kaiser Foundation Research Institute
United States
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