The prevalence of obesity and its health complications in the United States continues to rise among minority children at socioeconomic disadvantage and our research team at the Obesity Institute has expanded its multifaceted efforts to meaningfully address this complex problem. A clinical database that comprises the continuum of care from medical to surgical weight management has been developed and is maintained in real time. This both informs best practices locally and enhances the national evidence base via our participation in a multi-site Pediatric Obesity Weight Evaluation Registry (POWER), funded by the Children’s Hospital Association.
Several community outreach programs also continue to thrive and to demonstrate encouraging outcomes. Fit Family Jr/Juntos Podemos, a program funded by community grants for early intervention to prevent and treat obesity in Latino families has been shown to significantly improve parental fund of knowledge and to stabilize child weight trajectories. A program modeled after this successful preschool intervention has been enthusiastically received within the federally funded DC Promise Neighborhood Initiative and is in its second year now with outcomes data pending.
Step-up-to-Health is an after school wellness and mentoring program entering its third fully subscribed year in a private school in Ward 8, the Washington Middle School for Girls, to engage young girls at risk for overweight and obesity to participate in the African American tradition of stepping as a healthy form of vigorous exercise. To date, body mass index has either been stabilized or reduced in 79 percent of participants and these encouraging data form the basis of a national step alliance funding initiative.
Finally, our Obesity Institute has launched novel academic-community collaborative with Safeway Foundation funding to accelerate and support the pioneering legislation in the DC Healthy Schools Act. We are partnering with Children’s School Services, the Children’s Health Advocacy Institute, the Children’s National Biolab, HealthTeacher® (a state-of-the-art online health curriculum), and medical student mentors from the George Washington University School of Medicine and Health Sciences.
Faculty with interests in obesity: