“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 Senior 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

Harrington LB, Benz L, Haneuse S, Johnson E, Coleman KJ, Courcoulas AP, Li RA, Theis MK, Cooper J, Chin PL, Grinberg GG, Daigle CR, Chang JH, Um SS, Yenumula PR, Getty JZ, Arterburn DE. Bariatric Surgery and the Long-Term Risk of Venous Thromboembolism: A Population-Based Cohort Study.  Obes Surg. 2024;34(6):2017-2025. doi: 10.1007/s11695-024-07236-y. Epub 2024 Apr 30.  PubMed

Clennin M, Reifler L, Goodman O, Brown MC, Vupputuri S, Daugherty SL, Schootman M. Association of housing instability with obesity status among insured adults. Am J Prev Med. 2024 Apr 20:S0749-3797(24)00135-1. doi: 10.1016/j.amepre.2024.04.008. [Epub ahead of print]. PubMed

Lee JK, Roy A, Jensen CD, Chan JT, Zhao WK, Levin TR, Chubak J, Halm EA, Skinner CS, Schottinger JE, Ghai NR, Burnett-Hartman AN, Kamineni A, Udaltsova N, Corley DA. Surveillance colonoscopy findings in older adults with a history of colorectal adenomas.  JAMA Netw Open. 2024;7(4):e244611. doi: 10.1001/jamanetworkopen.2024.4611.  PubMed

Henderson K, Lewis, Sloan CE, Bessesen DH, Arterburn D. Effectiveness and safety of drugs for obesity. BMJ. 2024;384:e072686. doi: 10.1136/bmj-2022-072686.  PubMed

Courcoulas AP, Patti ME, Hu B, Arterburn DE, Simonson DC, Gourash WF, Jakicic JM, Vernon AH, Beck GJ, Schauer PR, Kashyap SR, Aminian A, Cummings DE, Kirwan JP. Long-term outcomes of medical management vs bariatric surgery in type 2 diabetes.  JAMA. 2024;331(8):654-664. doi: 10.1001/jama.2024.0318.  PubMed

Researchers in Obesity

David E. Arterburn, MD, MPH

Senior Investigator

Curriculum vitae (CV)

Paula Lozano, MD, MPH

Senior Investigator; Director, ACT Center

Curriculum vitae (CV)

Allen Cheadle, PhD

Senior Investigator, KPWHRI; Senior Research Associate, CCHE

Curriculum vitae (CV)

Dori E. Rosenberg, PhD, MPH

Senior Investigator

Curriculum vitae (CV)

Gregory E. Simon, MD, MPH

Senior Investigator

Curriculum vitae (CV)

Andrea J. Cook, PhD

Senior Biostatistics Investigator

Curriculum vitae (CV)

Beverly B. Green, MD, MPH

Senior Investigator

Curriculum vitae (CV)

Maricela Cruz, PhD

Assistant Biostatistics Investigator

Curriculum vitae (CV)

Mikael Anne Greenwood-Hickman, MPH

Collaborative Scientist
(206) 287-2908

Laurel Hansell, MA, MPH

Collaborative Scientist

Curriculum vitae (CV)

Nicole M. Gatto, PhD, MPH

Principal Collaborative Scientist

Curriculum vitae (CV)