Specialists with the Center for Healthy Weight and Wellness at Washington University School of Medicine are engaged in efforts to make a positive impact on the St. Louis community and the surrounding region.

Childhood obesity is a serious public health issue and is associated with immediate and long-term health problems, psychosocial complications, and significant health care costs. In 2010, the US Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) recommended clinicians screen children aged 6 years and older for obesity and offer or refer them to intensive counseling and behavioral interventions to promote improvements in weight status; grade B recommendation.

With a grade B level recommendation, treatment per the Task Force guidelines should be delivered and paid for as part of standard care for children with obesity. However, current usual care for children with obesity is dominated by no or low-dose treatment with little or no coordination between clinicians or is dependent upon successful referral to high intensity treatment in a specialty setting. To increase access to effective treatment for childhood obesity, efforts are needed to accelerate implementation of the USPSTF guidelines and translate evidence into widespread clinical practice.

On July 9-10, 2015, the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) and the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) hosted 43, multi-disciplinary, cross-sector stakeholders along with a patient and parent at a meeting titled: Evidence-based childhood obesity treatment: Improving access and systems of care. The focus of the conference was on the development of feasible, acceptable, effective and sustainable care delivery models consistent with the USPSTF recommendations that children with obesity be referred to a comprehensive, intensive behavioral intervention of more than 25 contact hours over six months.

Importantly, family-based behavioral treatment (FBT) was identified at the conference as the best model to translate for the USPSTF guidelines. A conference report summarizing all of the consensus from the cross-sector leaders is underway. Additionally, demonstration projects to fully translate evidence-based treatment for children with obesity into routine clinical care are anticipated as the dissemination and implementation from this conference develops.

Areas of Impact

Our goal is to end childhood obesity and to improve the lives of our community. Learn more about these initiatives in which we’re involved: