“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

Courcoulas AP, Johnson E, Arterburn DE, Haneuse S, Herrinton LJ, Fisher DP, Li RA, Theis MK, Liu L, Taylor B, Cooper J, Chin PL, Grinberg GG, Gupta A, Saurabh S, Um SS, Yenumula PR, Zelada JL, Coleman KJ. Reduction in long-term mortality after sleeve gastrectomy and gastric bypass compared to non-surgical patients with severe obesity. Ann Surg. 2021 Aug 13. doi: 10.1097/SLA.0000000000005155. [Epub ahead of print]. PubMed

Reynolds K, Barton LJ, Basu A, Fischer H, Arterburn DE, Barthold D, Courcoulas A, Crawford CL, Kim BB, Fedorka PN, Mun EC, Murali SB, Zane RE, Coleman KJ. Comparative effectiveness of gastric bypass and vertical sleeve gastrectomy for hypertension remission and relapse: the ENGAGE CVD study. Hypertension. 2021 Aug 9:HYPERTENSIONAHA12016934. doi: 10.1161/HYPERTENSIONAHA.120.16934. [Epub ahead of print]. PubMed

Test MR, Mangione-Smith R, Zhou C, Wright DR, Halvorson EE, Johnson DP, Williams DJ, Vachani JG, Hitt TA, Tieder JS. Obesity and health-related quality of life in children hospitalized for acute respiratory illness. Hosp Pediatr. 2021;11(8):841-848. doi: 10.1542/hpeds.2020-004531. Epub 2021 Jul 15. PubMed

Callaway K, Argetsinger S, Wharam JF, Zhang F, Arterburn DE, Fernandez A, Ross-Degnan D, Wallace J, Lewis KH. Acute care utilization and costs up to 4 years after index sleeve gastrectomy or Roux-en-Y gastric bypass: a national claims-based study. Ann Surg. 2021 Jun 7. doi: 10.1097/SLA.0000000000004972. [Epub ahead of print]. PubMed

Buszkiewicz JH, Bobb JF, Hurvitz PM, Arterburn D, Moudon AV, Cook A, Mooney SJ, Cruz M, Gupta S, Lozano P, Rosenberg DE, Theis MK, Anau J, Drewnowski A. Does the built environment have independent obesogenic power? urban form and trajectories of weight gain. Int J Obes (Lond). 2021 May 11. doi: 10.1038/s41366-021-00836-z. [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