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Kaiser Permanente Awards $2.2 Million For Research To Find Out What Works In Managing Weight

10/19/2005 5:12:26 PM

OAKLAND, Calif., Dec. 13 /PRNewswire/ -- Kaiser Permanente and its Garfield Memorial Fund are addressing the epidemic of obesity by funding eight new weight management research projects totaling $2.2 million. The Weight Management Initiative will create an evidence-based foundation for developing, evaluating and sharing proven models of obesity prevention and treatment. Among the eight research projects is an innovative program that incorporates the cultural needs of African American women, an investigation into whether or not knee surgeries among the obese can be significantly reduced through diet and exercise programs, and a program designed for children at high risk for obesity.

"These are eight extremely promising studies," stated Jed Weissberg, MD, chair of the Garfield Memorial Fund and associate executive director for quality and performance improvement of The Permanente Federation. "Obesity is a chronic health condition that we must address with the same rigorous research and integrated treatment that we use for other health conditions."

The eight funded proposals are: * Prevention of Postpartum Weight Retention in Patients with Gestational Diabetes Mellitus (GDM). Northern California region; Investigator: Assiamira Ferrara, MD, PhD * Managing Weight in Overweight and At Risk Children. Colorado region; Investigator: Paul Estabrooks, PhD * Examining the Feasibility of Collaborative Care Treatment for Overweight Adolescents. Northwest region; Investigator: Lynn Debar, MD MPH * Testing Models of a Pediatric Overweight Group Appointment for Efficacy and Replicability. Georgia and Mid-Atlantic States regions; Investigator: Luke Beno, MD * Bariatric Surgery Registry Development. Northern California region; Investigator: Steve Sidney, MD MPH * Weight Maintenance Following Weight Loss Interventions for Children. Northern California region; Investigator: Bette Caan, DrPH * Take HEED: An Evaluation of a Culturally Adapted Weight Management Program for African American Women. Ohio region; Investigator: Pamala Murphy, MD * Can a Weight Loss/Exercise Intervention Program Reduce the Need for Total Knee Replacement in Obese Patients? Southern California region; Investigator: Donald Fithian, MD Examples: Two Studies

Take HEED: An Evaluation of a Culturally Adapted Weight Management Program for African American Women -- Earlier research has found that African American women lose more weight and keep it off when they are in a weight loss program culturally adapted to fit their needs. Using that approach, this program will include peer counseling, cooking demonstrations and nutritional counseling to show African American women how to prepare their favorite foods using less fat and less salt. "Nearly 41% of African American women are overweight or obese," says Pamala Murphy, MD, the principal investigator for the project targeted to African American women, and an internist in the Ohio region where she runs the Center of Excellence in Culturally Competent Care in African American Health Studies. "We believe that in order to reach African American women, we need to look at how they socialize, the foods they cook for themselves and their families, and in what ways we could motivate them to exercise."

The "Managing Weight in Overweight and At Risk Children" project will tackle obesity among children and map out a 12-week intervention based on evidence-based practices. Led by principal investigator, Paul Estabrooks, PhD, a research scientist in the Clinical Research Unit in Colorado, this program for children will rely on assisting parents of overweight children to develop general parenting, role modeling, and home environmental change skills through group visits and follow-up automated telephone calls. The study will test new interactive assessments and a "Healthy Living Report" to help physicians identify and refer appropriate families to weight management programs. For all children with a BMI percentile ranking of 85 or greater, the pediatrician will refer the family to the Family Connections program, where weight management specialists follow up with the family.

The Garfield Memorial Fund is a research fund within The Permanente Federation, and Kaiser Foundation Health Plan/Hospitals, Inc., named in honor of founding Permanente physician, Sydney Garfield. "We work to increase collaboration between clinicians and researchers," explains Ed Thomas, RN, MBA, director of the Garfield Memorial Fund. "We seek partnerships with groups that offer expertise, innovative thinking or financial resources. We believe this work will have a significant impact in combating obesity." Kaiser Permanente is America's leading integrated health plan. Founded in 1945, it is a not-for-profit, group practice prepayment program with headquarters in Oakland, California.

Kaiser Permanente serves the health care needs of 8.2 million members in 9 states and the District of Columbia. Today it encompasses the not-for-profit Kaiser Foundation Health Plan, Inc., Kaiser Foundation Hospitals and their subsidiaries, and the for-profit Permanente Medical Groups. Nationwide, Kaiser Permanente includes approximately 138,000 technical, administrative and clerical employees and caregivers, and more than 11,000 physicians representing all specialties.

Kaiser Permanente

CONTACT: Beverly Hayon of Kaiser Permanente, +1-510-271-6437,

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