News Release: School of Public Health

Oct. 5,  2009

Emory Researchers to Evaluate Childhood Obesity Interventions

News Article ImageKenneth E. Thorpe, PhD

The Alliance for a Healthier Generation, a joint initiative of the American Heart Association and the William J. Clinton Foundation, has selected Emory University's Institute for Advance Policy Solutions to conduct a process and outcomes evaluation of the Alliance for a Healthier Generation's Healthcare Initiative, launched earlier this year.

This is the nation's first comprehensive research study evaluating clinical interventions for childhood obesity. The study will help inform the science base and uncover effective clinical solutions to the childhood obesity epidemic.

"In the past 25 years, childhood obesity has tripled," says study principal investigator Kenneth E. Thorpe, PhD, Robert W. Woodruff professor and chair, Department of Health Policy & Management, Rollins School of Public Health, Emory University, and director of the Emory Institute for Advance Policy Solutions. "As obesity rates have climbed, so too have rates of associated health conditions. By analyzing the implementation of clinical processes and the health outcomes delivered, we will be able to determine the most effective method for clinically combating childhood obesity."

The Alliance Healthcare Initiative is a collaborative effort with national medical associations, leading insurers and employers to enable families to work with their primary care physicians and registered dietitians to achieve lifelong health. Eligible children have access to at least four follow-up visits with their primary care provider and at least four visits with a registered dietitian per year.

"Through the Alliance Healthcare Initiative, more than 1 million children in the U.S. have access to healthcare benefits to combat obesity," says Ginny Ehrlich, executive director of the Alliance for a Healthier Generation. Providing these groundbreaking health benefits is important, but we also believe that we need to ‘keep score,' meaning evaluation of our process and the outcomes is imperative.

"We are honored to be working with Dr. Ken Thorpe and his team from the Institute for Advance Policy Solutions to evaluate and report on the findings from the Alliance Healthcare Initiative," says Ehrlich.

The Institute for Advance Policy Solutions will work with each insurer and employer to collect data and will provide an annual evaluation of the Initiative during the first three years, with a final report to be published in 2012.

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The Robert W. Woodruff Health Sciences Center of Emory University is an academic health science and service center focused on missions of teaching, research, health care and public service. Its components include schools of medicine, nursing, and public health; Yerkes National Primate Research Center; the Emory Winship Cancer Institute; and Emory Healthcare, the largest, most comprehensive health system in Georgia. The Woodruff Health Sciences Center has a $2.3 billion budget, 17,000 employees, 2,300 full-time and 1,900 affiliated faculty, 4,300 students and trainees, and a $4.9 billion economic impact on metro Atlanta.

Learn more about Emory’s health sciences:
Twitter: @emoryhealthsci

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