“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

Arterburn D, McCulloch D. Bariatric Surgery for Type 2 Diabetes: Getting Closer to the Long-term Goal. JAMA. 2016;315(12):1276-7. doi: 10.1001/jama.2016.1884. PubMed

Knerr S, Bowen DJ, Beresford SA, Wang C. Genetic causal beliefs about obesity, self-efficacy for weight control, and obesity-related behaviours in a middle-aged female cohort. Psychol Health. 2016;31(4):420-35. doi: 10.1080/08870446.2015.1115503. Epub 2016 Jan 2. PubMed

Drewnowski A, Aggarwal A, Cook A, Stewart O, Moudon AV. Geographic disparities in healthy eating index scores (HEI-2005 and 2010) by residential property values: findings from Seattle Obesity Study (SOS). Prev Med. 2015 Dec 3. pii: S0091-7435(15)00357-6. doi: 10.1016/j.ypmed.2015.11.021. [Epub ahead of print]. PubMed

Rosenberg DE, Gell NM, Jones SM, Renz A, Kerr J, Gardiner PA, Arterburn D. The feasibility of reducing sitting time in overweight and obese older adults. Health Educ Behav. 2015 Oct;42(5):669-76. doi: 10.1177/1090198115577378. Epub 2015 Mar 20. PubMed

Arterburn D, Wood GC, Theis MK, Westbrook EO, Anau J, Rukstalis M, Boscarino JA, Daar Z, Gerhard GS. Antipsychotic medications and extreme weight gain in two health systems. Obes Res Clin Pract. 2015 Sep 8. pii: S1871-403X(15)00126-X. doi: 10.1016/j.orcp.2015.08.012. [Epub ahead of print]. PubMed

Researchers in Obesity

David E. Arterburn, MD, MPH

Senior Investigator, KPWHRI; Physician, Washington Permanente Medical Group, Internal Medicine

Curriculum vitae (CV)

Paula Lozano, MD, MPH

Senior Investigator, KPWHRI; Associate Medical Director for Research and Translation & Physician, Pediatrics, Washington Permanente Medical Group

Curriculum vitae (CV)

Allen Cheadle, PhD

Senior Research Associate, Center for Community Health & Evaluation; Senior Investigator, KPWHRI

Curriculum vitae (CV)

Dori E. Rosenberg, PhD, MPH

Associate Investigator

Curriculum vitae (CV)

Gregory E. Simon, MD, MPH

Senior Investigator

Curriculum vitae (CV)

Andrea J. Cook, PhD

Senior Investigator

Curriculum vitae (CV)

Beverly B. Green, MD, MPH

Senior Investigator

Curriculum vitae (CV)

Maricela Cruz, PhD

Assistant Investigator

Curriculum vitae (CV)