“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

US Preventive Services Task Force, Grossman DC, Bibbins-Domingo K, Curry SJ, Barry MJ, Davidson KW, Doubeni CA, Epling JW Jr, Kemper AR, Krist AH, Kurth AE, Landefeld CS, Mangione CM, Phipps MG, Silverstein M, Simon MA, Tseng CW. Screening for obesity in children and adolescents: US Preventive Services Task Force recommendation statement. JAMA. 2017 Jun 20;317(23):2417-2426. doi: 10.1001/jama.2017.6803. PubMed

Lindström S, Germain M, Crous-Bou M, Smith EN, Morange PE, van Hylckama Vlieg A, de Haan HG, Chasman D, Ridker P, Brody J, de Andrade M, Heit JA, Tang W, DeVivo I, Grodstein F, Smith NL, Tregouet D, Kabrhel C; INVENT Consortium. Assessing the causal relationship between obesity and venous thromboembolism through a Mendelian randomization study. Hum Genet. 2017 May 20. doi: 10.1007/s00439-017-1811-x. [Epub ahead of print]. PubMed

Wright D, Lozano P, Dawson-Hahn E, Christakis D, Haaland W, Basu A. Parental optimism about childhood obesity-related disease risks. Int J Obes (Lond). 2017 May 3. doi: 10.1038/ijo.2017.103. [Epub ahead of print]. PubMed

Fisher D, Coleman KJ, Arterburn DE, Fischer H, Yamamoto A, Young DR, Sherwood NE, Trinacty CM, Lewis KH. Mental illness in bariatric surgery: a cohort study from the PORTAL network. Obesity (Silver Spring). 2017 May;25(5):850-856. doi: 10.1002/oby.21814. PubMed

Balasubramanian BA, Garcia MP, Corley DA, Doubeni CA, Haas JS, Kamineni A, Quinn VP, Wernli K, Zheng Y, Skinner CS. Racial/ethnic differences in obesity and comorbidities between safety-net- and non safety-net integrated health systems. Medicine (Baltimore). 2017;96(11):e6326. doi: 10.1097/MD.0000000000006326. 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, KPWHRI; Associate Medical Director for Research and Translation & Physician, Pediatrics, Washington Permanente Medical Group
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)

Predrag Klasnja, PhD

Assistant Investigator, KPWHRI; Assistant Professor of Information, University of Michigan School of Information
206-442-5207
Predrag.V.Klasnja@kp.org

Curriculum vitae (CV)