“We’re looking for innovative ways to both treat and prevent obesity—including creating healthier environments and designing programs for whole families.”

David Arterburn, MD, MPH
Kaiser Permanente Washington Health Research Institute Senior Investigator
Washington Permanente Medical Group, Internal Medicine

Research overview

“Obesity is the number-one health problem in the United States because it negatively affects our population’s health more than any other condition,” said Kaiser Permanente Washington Health Research Institute senior investigator David Arterburn, MD, MPH. Kaiser Permanente Washington researchers are doing practical research to learn how doctors, patients, families, employers, and policymakers can best work together to prevent and treat obesity.

“We’re focusing on three ways to halt the obesity epidemic,” said associate investigator Dori Rosenberg, PhD, MPH. “We’re helping to change obesity-promoting environments, bringing evidence-based prevention and treatment programs into health care systems, and helping people develop lifelong healthy diet and activity habits.”

Kaiser Permanente Washington obesity research areas include:

  • reducing sedentary behavior and promoting physical activity and healthy diet in various age groups, populations with chronic conditions, and families;
  • shared decision making to help patients find the best way to a healthy weight;
  • implementing health coaches in primary care to support behavior changes;
  • social networks that support lifestyle change programs;
  • relationships between medications and genetic factors in developing obesity;
  • health system, community, and national policies that address obesity;
  • relationships between obesity and depression, diabetes, and other conditions; and
  • long-term benefits and risks of bariatric (weight loss) surgery.

“Obesity is caused by many factors, so at Kaiser Permanente Washington, we’re working on many levels,” said Paula Lozano, MD, MPH, a senior investigator and Kaiser Permanente Washington’s assistant medical director for preventive care. “We’re improving health care to help people who are obese now. But since obesity is a societal problem, we’re also studying how to change our homes and workplaces and neighborhoods to create more healthy environments.”

Recent publications on Obesity

Koffman L, Levis A, Haneuse S, Johnson E, Bock S, McSperitt D, Gupta A, Arterburn D. Evaluation of intensive telephonic nutritional and lifestyle counseling to enhance outcomes of bariatric surgery. Obes Surg. 2021 Oct 19. doi: 10.1007/s11695-021-05749-4. Online ahead of print. PubMed

Howard R, Chao GF, Yang J, Thumma J, Chhabra K, Arterburn DE, Ryan A, Telem DA, Dimick JB. Comparative safety of sleeve gastrectomy and gastric bypass up to 5 years after surgery in patients with severe obesity. JAMA Surg. 2021 Oct 6. doi: 10.1001/jamasurg.2021.4981. [Epub ahead of print]. PubMed

Mooney SJ, Song L, Drewnowski A, Buskiewicz J, Mooney SD, Saelens BE, Arterburn DE. From the clinic to the community: can health system data accurately estimate population obesity prevalence? Obesity (Silver Spring). 2021 Oct 4. doi: 10.1002/oby.23273. [Epub ahead of print]. PubMed

Barthold D, Brouwer E, Barton LJ, Arterburn DE, Basu A, Courcoulas A, Crawford CL, Fedorka PN, Fischer H, Kim BB, Mun EC, Murali SB, Reynolds K, Yoon TK, Zane RE, Coleman KJ. Minimum threshold of bariatric surgical weight loss for initial diabetes remission. Diabetes Care. 2021 Sep 13:dc210714. doi: 10.2337/dc21-0714. [Epub ahead of print]. PubMed

Chao GF, Yang J, Thumma J, Chhabra KR, Arterburn DE, Ryan A, Telem DA, Dimick JB. Volume-outcome relationships for Roux-en-Y gastric bypass patients in the sleeve gastrectomy era. Surg Endosc. 2021 Sep 1. doi: 10.1007/s00464-021-08705-6. [Epub ahead of print]. PubMed

Researchers in Obesity

David E. Arterburn, MD, MPH

Senior Investigator, KPWHRI; Physician, Washington Permanente Medical Group, Internal Medicine
206-287-4610
David.E.Arterburn@kp.org

Curriculum vitae (CV)

Paula Lozano, MD, MPH

Senior Investigator, Kaiser Permanente Washington Health Research Institute;
206-287-2113
Paula.Lozano@kp.org

Curriculum vitae (CV)

Allen Cheadle, PhD

Senior Research Associate, Center for Community Health & Evaluation; Senior Investigator, KPWHRI
206-287-4391
Allen.D.Cheadle@kp.org

Curriculum vitae (CV)

Dori E. Rosenberg, PhD, MPH

Associate Investigator
206-287-2532
Dori.E.Rosenberg@kp.org

Curriculum vitae (CV)

Gregory E. Simon, MD, MPH

Senior Investigator
206-287-2979
Gregory.E.Simon@kp.org

Curriculum vitae (CV)

Andrea J. Cook, PhD

Senior Investigator
206-287-4257
Andrea.J.Cook@kp.org

Curriculum vitae (CV)

Beverly B. Green, MD, MPH

Senior Investigator
206-287-2997
Bev.B.Green@kp.org

Curriculum vitae (CV)

Maricela Cruz, PhD

Assistant Investigator
206-287-2878
Maricela.F.Cruz@kp.org

Curriculum vitae (CV)

Mikael Anne Greenwood-Hickman,

Research Associate II
(206) 287-2908
Mikael.Anne.Greenwood-Hickman@kp.org