“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

Coleman KJ, Paz SR, Bhakta BB, Taylor B, Liu J, Yoon TK, Macias M, Arterburn DE, Crawford CL, Drewnowksi A, Figueroa Gray MS, Hansell LD, Ji M, Lewis KH, Moore DD, Murali SB, Young DR. Cohort profile: The Bariatric Experience Long Term (BELONG): a long-term prospective study to understand the psychosocial, environmental, health and behavioural predictors of weight loss and regain in patients who have bariatric surgery. BMJ Open. 2022 May 24;12(5):e059611. doi: 10.1136/bmjopen-2021-059611. PubMed

Lewis KH, Argetsinger S, Arterburn DE, Clemenzi J, Zhang F, Kamusiime R, Fernandez A, Ross-Degnan D, Wharam JF. Comparison of ambulatory health care costs and use associated with Roux-en-Y gastric bypass vs sleeve gastrectomy. JAMA Netw Open. 2022 May 2;5(5):e229661. doi: 10.1001/jamanetworkopen.2022.9661. PubMed

Howard R, Yang J, Thumma J, Arterburn DE, Ryan A, Chao G, Telem D, Dimick JB. Long-term comparative effectiveness of gastric bypass and sleeve gastrectomy on use of antireflux medication: a difference-in-differences analysis. Surg Obes Relat Dis. 2022 Apr 22:S1550-7289(22)00162-9. doi: 10.1016/j.soard.2022.04.016. PubMed

Basu A, Barton LJ, Fischer H, Reynolds K, Arterburn DE, Barthold D, Courcoulas A, Crawford CL, Fedorka PN, Kim BB, Mun EC, Murali SB, Zane RE, Coleman KJ. Comparative effectiveness of gastric bypass and sleeve gastrectomy on predicted 10-year risk of cardiovascular disease 5 years after surgery. Surg Obes Relat Dis. 2022 Mar 9:S1550-7289(22)00098-3. doi: 10.1016/j.soard.2022.02.021, [Epub ahead of print]. PubMed

Chhabra KR, Telem DA, Chao GF, Arterburn DE, Yang J, Thumma JR, Ryan AM, Blumental B, Dimick JB. Comparative safety of sleeve gastrectomy and gastric bypass: an instrumental variables approach. Ann Surg. 2022 Mar 1;275(3):539-545. doi: 10.1097/SLA.0000000000004297. 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, Kaiser Permanente Washington Health Research Institute
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 Biostatistics 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)

Maricela Cruz, PhD

Assistant Biostatistics Investigator
206-287-2878
Maricela.F.Cruz@kp.org

Curriculum vitae (CV)

Mikael Anne Greenwood-Hickman, MPH

Collaborative Scientist
(206) 287-2908
Mikael.Anne.Greenwood-Hickman@kp.org