Group Health Research Institute Senior Investigator Paula Lozano, M.D., recently published results from the Family Wellness Program in The Permanente Journal. The program tested behavioral treatment for obesity in a real-world setting. Group Health pediatricians invited families of children who are obese to participate in the program. While the children remained obese at the end of the study, 70 percent experienced some meaningful improvement and nearly half achieved a degree of weight loss found in research studies with one-on-one treatment. Parents’ BMI declined by an average of 0.9.
This pilot is a small step toward understanding how to make intensive behavioral treatment available to families in a variety of settings (outside of research studies) where the group format makes treatment more affordable and feasible to deliver, Lozano says. These settings might include doctor’s offices, hospitals — and potentially community agencies that serve families.