Weight Management Help for Children with Obesity

For more information, contact:

Ted Griggs, ted.griggs@pbrc.edu, 225-288-8840

Lisa Stansbury, lisa.stansbury@pbrc.edu, 225-763-2978

Pennington Biomedical Study Offers Weight-Management Program Through Clinics in Baton Rouge, New Orleans

BATON ROUGE, Louisiana – More than 300 children who have obesity will be able to get weight-management help through study programs in select pediatric clinics in the Baton Rouge and greater New Orleans areas.

The assistance is available through a Pennington Biomedical Research Center study that examines two of the most common treatments for children who have obesity.  One program includes counseling by a primary care provider focusing on healthy eating and activity habits.  The other combines provider counseling and family-based behavioral therapy for children and parents.

“Our plan is to test these science-backed, weight-management programs and find out which is the most effective,” said Amanda Staiano, PhD, director of the Pediatric Obesity and Health Behavior Laboratory at Pennington Biomedical.

Children will be randomly assigned to one of the 12-month programs.  To qualify, children must be 6-15 and have obesity.  The participants must also be current patients at one of the following locations:

Baton Rouge Area:

Red Stick Pediatrics

The Baton Rouge Clinic – AMC (Pediatrics)

The Baton Rouge Clinic Pediatrics at Industriplex

Our Lady of the Lake Children’s Health:

  • Pediatrics at Perkins
  • Pediatrics at Denham Springs
  • Pediatrics at Goodwood
  • Pediatric Academic Clinic
  • Pediatrics at O’Donovan
  • Pediatrics at Prairieville
  • Pediatrics at South Burnside (Gonzales)
  • Our Lady of the Lake Physician Group Livingston
  • Our Lady of the Lake Physician Group North Point (Greenwell Springs)
  • Our Lady of the Lake North Pediatric Clinic
  • Our Lady of the Angels (Bogalusa)

Greater New Orleans Area:

Ochsner Health Center – Lapalco (Westside Pediatrics and Family Medicine)

Kenner Community Health Center (Access Health Louisiana)

St. Bernard Community Health Center (Access Health Louisiana)

“It’s vital that we address childhood obesity as quickly as possible.  One in five children nationwide has obesity.  In Louisiana, 34 percent of children aged 10-17 have overweight and obesity,” Dr. Staiano said.  “Without intervention, they could become adults with obesity, with the risks of psychological and health challenges the disease brings.”

“TEAM UP is a great opportunity to partner with other health care providers throughout our community all focused on better health outcomes for our youngest population,” said Trey Dunbar, MD, president of Our Lady of the Lake Children’s Health.  “Through this collaboration with Pennington, we’re pleased to offer new programs aimed at improving the health and well-being of families across the Baton Rouge region.”

The pandemic hampered enrollment in the weight-management programs.  But researchers say they expect that to change.   Baton Rouge and New Orleans have lifted some of the COVID-19 restrictions, and 11 of Our Lady of the Lake Children’s Health clinics/locations recently agreed to participate in the study.

“Adding the Our Lady of the Lake’s pediatric clinics means many more families will be eligible for the study,” Dr. Staiano said.

“The families that we have enrolled in the TEAM UP program have seen many positive improvements,” said Baton Rouge Clinic Pediatrician Dr. Mark Waggenspack.  “COVID-19 has negatively impacted many of our exercise routines and eating habits, but with TEAM UP, we are able to offer support to the families that are struggling to make healthier choices during this time.”

Funding is provided by the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute, Louisiana Healthcare Connections, and Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana.

“We expect this project will provide the data needed to drive urgently needed improvements in care delivery and quality outcomes for obesity-related illnesses and chronic diseases in Louisiana," said Dr. Stewart T. Gordon, chief medical officer for Louisiana Healthcare Connections.

“The keys to preventing or reducing obesity are early intervention and support,” said Dr. Stephanie Mills, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana Chief Medical Officer.  “Developing a treatment model that supports providers and families can help children get healthier and lower their risks for conditions like diabetes, heart disease and high blood pressure.  This study is an important investment in Louisiana’s children and will help ensure a healthy future.”

For more information about the study or to see if your child is eligible, go to JoinTeamUp.org or call (225) 763-3194.

Many Blue Cross health plans offer a treatment benefit for children diagnosed as overweight or with obesity.  To find out more about Blue Cross’ pediatric wellness benefits, go to bcbsla.com/healthierkids or call the number on the back of your Blue Cross ID card. 

PCORI is an independent, nonprofit organization authorized by Congress in 2010. Its mission is to fund research that will provide patients, their caregivers, and clinicians with the evidence-based information needed to make better-informed health-care decisions.

For more information about PCORI's funding, visit www.pcori.org


About the Pennington Biomedical Research Center

The Pennington Biomedical Research Center is at the forefront of medical discovery as it relates to understanding the triggers of obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, cancer and dementia.  The Center conducts basic, clinical, and population research, and is affiliated with Louisiana State University.  The research enterprise at Pennington Biomedical includes over 450 employees within a network of 40 clinics and research laboratories, and 13 highly specialized core service facilities. Its scientists and physician/scientists are supported by research trainees, lab technicians, nurses, dietitians, and other support personnel.  Pennington Biomedical is located in state-of-the-art research facilities on a 222-acre campus in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.  For more information, see http://www.pbrc.edu.

Pennington Biomedical Research Center

6400 Perkins Road

Baton Rouge, LA 70808