“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

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

Ma Q, Shambhu S, Arterburn DE, McTigue KM, Haynes K. Interventions and operations after bariatric surgery in a health plan research network cohort from the PCORnet, the National Patient-Centered Clinical Research Network. Obes Surg. 2021 Apr 20. doi: 10.1007/s11695-021-05417-7. Online ahead of print. PubMed

Arterburn D, Aminian A, Nissen S, Schauer P, Haneuse S. Bias in EHR-based studies: seeing the forest for the trees. Diabetes Obes Metab. 2021 Apr 14. doi: 10.1111/dom.14403. [Epub ahead of print]. PubMed

Coleman KJ, Shu YH, Fischer H, Johnson E, Yoon TK, Taylor B, Imam T, DeRose S, Haneuse S, Herrinton LJ, Fisher D, Li RA, Theis MK, Liu L, Courcoulas AP, Smith DH, Arterburn DE, Friedman AN. Bariatric surgery and risk of death in persons with chronic kidney disease. Ann Surg. 2021 Mar 3. doi: 10.1097/SLA.000000000000485. [Epub ahead of print]. PubMed

Koffman L, Levis AW, Arterburn D, Coleman KJ, Herrinton LJ, Cooper J, Ewing J, Fischer H, Fraser JR, Johnson E, Taylor B, Theis MK, Liu L, Courcoulas A, Li R, Fisher DP, Amsden L, Haneuse S. Investigating bias from missing data in an electronic health records-based study of weight loss after bariatric surgery. Obes Surg. 2021 Jan 19. doi: 10.1007/s11695-021-05226-y. [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)