Pediatric obesity: Managed care collaborating with providers to improve diagnosis and treatment

Elizabeth L Wilkes, The University of Texas School of Public Health


Child overweight and obesity reaches across ethnic, cultural, socioeconomic and regional barriers. It must be assessed, diagnosed and treated to help families make sustainable behavior changes. Treatment recommendations have been made to address pediatric overweight and obesity. They include screening for risk factors, monitoring BMI trends and educating patients and families to make small sustainable changes. Health insurance companies can play a meaningful role in supporting and facilitating provider education and behavior change to diagnose, treat and prevent pediatric overweight and obesity. The aims of this thesis were: (1) Describe a disease management program that uses evidence-based practices to create provider behavior change related to pediatric obesity screening, diagnosis and treatment. (2) Identify ways to improve the implementation of the program based on the perceptions of participating clinicians. A literature review was completed to evaluate current recommendations for screening and treating pediatric obesity using the Ovid data base. The evidenced-based recommendations were compared against the practices of the Healthy Lifestyles Program (HeLP). The literature confirmed that HeLP is following evidence-based recommendations for assessment, diagnosis and treatment of pediatric obesity. A Children’s Mercy Family Health Partners focus group was convened to create a provider survey. The goals of the survey were to assess providers’ perception of the Healthy Lifestyles Program (HeLP). The survey was sent out through email using Survey Monkey. All survey responses were anonymous. The survey was sent to a total of 80 providers who had completed HeLP. Twenty-five percent responded. The survey results were evaluated to make recommendations for HeLP. Results of the survey included motivating factors for participation in HeLP. Concern about the increasing prevalence of pediatric obesity was a frequent motivator for participation. Provider barriers to obesity diagnosis were evaluated. Lack of time during clinic visits a frequent barrier to obesity diagnosis. In conclusion several recommendations for the HeLP were made based on survey results. It is recommended that the program evaluate methods and tools for facilitating effective weight management follow up visits. Promotional materials should highlight the increasing prevalence of pediatric obesity when advertising HeLP. These recommendations will be used to refine the current Healthy Lifestyles Program.

Subject Area

Public Health Education

Recommended Citation

Wilkes, Elizabeth L, "Pediatric obesity: Managed care collaborating with providers to improve diagnosis and treatment" (2010). Texas Medical Center Dissertations (via ProQuest). AAI1479526.