Perspectives on Obesity Programs at Children's Hospitals: Insights From Senior Program Administrators

Center for Healthy Weight and Nutrition, Nationwide Children's Hospital, 700 Children's Dr, Columbus, OH 43205, USA.
PEDIATRICS (Impact Factor: 5.47). 09/2011; 128 Suppl 2(Supplement):S86-90. DOI: 10.1542/peds.2011-0480I
Source: PubMed


The obesity epidemic has resulted in an increasing number of children needing multidisciplinary obesity treatment. To meet this need, pediatric obesity programs have arisen, particularly in children's hospitals. In 2008, the National Association of Children's Hospitals and Related Institutions (NACHRI) convened FOCUS on a Fitter Future, a group drawn from NACHRI member institutions, to investigate the needs, barriers, and capacity-building in these programs.
Senior administrators of the 47 NACHRI member hospitals that completed an application to participate in the FOCUS group were invited to complete a Web-based survey. The survey targeted 4 key areas: (1) perceived value of the obesity program; (2) funding mechanisms; (3) administrative challenges; and (4) sustainability of the programs.
Nearly three-quarters of the respondents reported that their obesity programs were integrated into their hospitals' strategic plans. Obesity programs added value to their institutions because the programs met the needs of patients and families (97%), met the needs of health care providers (91%), prevented future health problems in children (85%), and increased visibility in the community (79%). Lack of reimbursement (82%) and high operating costs (71%) were the most frequently cited challenges. Respondents most frequently identified demonstration of program effectiveness (79%) as a factor that is necessary for ensuring program sustainability.
Hospital administrators view tackling childhood obesity as integral to their mission to care for children. Our results serve to inform hospital clinicians and administrators as they develop and implement sustainable pediatric obesity programs.

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