have new obesity resource

More than half of all American Board of Obesity Medicine (ABOM) diplomates and candidates are primary care physicians, including family physicians who treat patients from birth through adulthood. Family physicians have many opportunities to treat patients of all ages with obesity. In Colorado, this challenge prompted the Colorado Academy of Family Physicians (CAFP) to look for a way to empower family physicians to help their youngest patients with obesity. The result is the highly successful Fit Family Challenge.

The Fit Family Challenge (FFC) aims to reduce childhood obesity by integrating childhood obesity guidelines and implementation of a primary care office-based intervention into clinical settings. The FFC screens for pediatric obesity and identifies lifestyle habits that may put a child at risk for obesity. These habits may include low fruit and vegetable intake, greater than two hours per day of screen time, less than one hour/day of physical activity, and high intake of sugar-sweetened beverages.

Children aged 6 to 12 years who have a body mass index (BMI) in the 85th or higher percentile are invited to participate in the challenge. Participation involves weekly contact and goal-setting with the child’s primary care practice; attendance at a monthly group visit with a parent(s) and other family members; collection of weekly goals; collection of monthly weight, height, and blood pressure; and collection of baseline, six month, and 12-month weight, height and blood pressure, and completion of a lifestyle habits survey. In addition, the FFC provides training and support for practice providers on screening for childhood obesity, patient-centered counseling including motivational interviewing, and ongoing technical support.

The results have been eye-popping, according to CAFP executive director Raquel Rosen.

“During our pilot project, we saw a statistically significant drop in BMI among participants,” said Rosen. “The families who participated in the pilot project were also very engaged, and really enjoyed the program. It was wonderful to see it having an effect on entire communities.”

For their efforts, the CAFP recently received the 2014 Outstanding Program Award from the American Academy of Family Physicians Foundation.

Based on the success of the program in Colorado, the CAFP is offering family physicians nationwide the opportunity to implement the Fit Family Challenge. Interested physicians can attend a daylong Fit Family Challenge training during the upcoming CAFP annual summit in Colorado Springs April 14-17, 2016.

Register for the 2016 CAFP Annual Summit