“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 Senior 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

Patrick DL, Skalicky AM, Edwards TC, Kuniyuki A, Morales LS, Leng M, Kirschenbaum DS. Weight loss and changes in generic and weight-specific quality of life in obese adolescents.  Qual Life Res. 2010 Aug;20(6):961-8. Epub 2010 Dec 28. PubMed

Berrington de Gonzalez A, Hartge P, Cerhan JR, Flint AJ, Hannan L, MacInnis RJ, Moore SC, Tobias GS, Anton-Culver H, Freeman LB, Beeson WL, Clipp SL, English DR, Folsom AR, Freedman DM, Giles G, Hakansson N, Henderson KD, Hoffman-Bolton J, Hoppin JA, Koenig KL, Lee IM, Linet MS, Park Y, Pocobelli G, Schatzkin A, Sesso HD, Weiderpass E, Willcox BJ, Wolk A, Zeleniuch-Jacquotte A, Willett WC, Thun MJ. Body-mass index and mortality among 1.46 million white adults. N Engl J Med. 2010 Dec 2;363(23):2211-9. doi: 10.1056/NEJMoa1000367. PubMed

Gavin AR, Simon GE, Ludman EJ. The association between obesity, depression, and educational attainment in women: the mediating role of body image dissatisfaction.  J Psychosom Res. 2010;69(6):573-81. Epub 2010 Jul 3. PubMed

Arterburn DE, Alexander GL, Calvi J, Coleman LA, Gillman MW, Novotny R, Quinn VP, Rukstalis M, Stevens VJ, Taveras EM, Sherwood NE. Body mass index measurement and obesity prevalence in ten U.S. health plans. Clin Med Res. 2010 Dec;8(3-4):126-30. Epub 2010 Aug 3. PubMed

Cheadle A, Samuels SE, Rauzon S, Yoshida SC, Schwartz PM, Boyle M, Beery WL, Craypo L, Solomon L. Approaches to measuring the extent and impact of environmental change in three California community-level obesity prevention initiatives.  Am J Public Health. 2010;100(11):2129-36. PubMed

Researchers in Obesity

David E. Arterburn, MD, MPH

Senior Investigator
206-287-4610
David.E.Arterburn@kp.org

Curriculum vitae (CV)

Paula Lozano, MD, MPH

Senior Investigator; Director, ACT Center
206-287-2113
Paula.Lozano@kp.org

Curriculum vitae (CV)

Allen Cheadle, PhD

Senior Investigator, KPWHRI; Senior Research Associate, CCHE
206-287-4391
Allen.D.Cheadle@kp.org

Curriculum vitae (CV)

Dori E. Rosenberg, PhD, MPH

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

Curriculum vitae (CV)

Mikael Anne Greenwood-Hickman, MPH

Collaborative Scientist
(206) 287-2908
Mikael.Anne.Greenwood-Hickman@kp.org

Laurel Hansell, MA, MPH

Collaborative Scientist
laurel.d.hansell@kp.org

Curriculum vitae (CV)

Nicole M. Gatto, PhD, MPH

Principal Collaborative Scientist
Nicole.M.Gatto@kp.org

Curriculum vitae (CV)