Project Summary

PCORI implementation projects promote the use of findings from PCORI-funded studies. This project focuses on implementing findings from the completed PCORI-funded research project: Do Weight Management Programs Involving Health Coaches Improve Body Mass Index and Parent Empowerment for Children with Obesity or Who Are Overweight?

This project is in progress.

What were the results from the original PCORI-funded research study?

The research team looked at two ways to help children and their parents and clinicians, such as doctors and nurses, manage children’s weight. In both ways, children and their parents took part in a healthy weight program that included

  • Information about how to manage children’s weight
  • A neighborhood resource guide
  • Monthly text messages to support choosing healthy behaviors

Some families also got two extra weekly text messages and had six sessions with trained health coaches. Health coaches worked with children and their families to improve children’s diets, physical activity levels, and motivation. In both programs, the research team also made changes to electronic health records, or EHRs, to help clinicians identify children with overweight and plan treatment.

With both approaches, children had lower body mass index, or BMI, at the end of the study.

Why is this research finding important?

Childhood obesity, or having weight higher than the healthy range, affects millions of children and can lead to life-long health problems. This study found that low-cost steps, like giving parents educational materials or helping doctors identify children with obesity, can help improve children’s weight.

What is the goal of this project?

The project team wants to work with a broader range and larger number of clinicians to use the approaches shown to be effective in the PCORI-funded research study when treating children with obesity. The project focuses on clinics that provide health care in areas with few resources.

What is the project team doing?

At 21 clinics in three states, the project team is working with clinic staff to put in place the approaches examined in the earlier study. To help doctors easily identify children with obesity and make plans to treat them, the team is adding features to clinics’ EHRs. At each clinic, the team is also helping staff use text messages and coaching as part of care for families with children with obesity.

How is the team evaluating this project?

The project team is measuring changes in children’s obesity at each clinic and surveying families about their experiences with care. The team is also tracking how often clinicians use the new approaches.

How is the team involving patients and others in making sure the findings reach people who can use them?

Parents, clinicians, and clinic staff are working with the team to adapt the program interventions to work well in the participating clinics. The project team is sharing parts of the project, such as the EHR features, through a data library used by many clinics.

Project Information

Elsie Taveras, MD, MPH
Massachusetts General Hospital
Dissemination and Implementation of Effective Childhood Obesity Treatment Innovations

Key Dates

July 2018
October 2022

Study Registration Information


Project Status
Award Type
Health Conditions

Health Conditions

These are the broad terms we use to categorize our funded research studies; specific diseases or conditions are included within the appropriate larger category. Note: not all of our funded projects focus on a single disease or condition; some touch on multiple diseases or conditions, research methods, or broader health system interventions. Such projects won’t be listed by a primary disease/condition and so won’t appear if you use this filter tool to find them.

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Funding Opportunity Type


The state where the project originates, or where the primary institution or organization is located.

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Last updated: October 14, 2021