Telemedicine intervention effective against childhood obesity


At the American Academy of Pediatrics National Conference & Exhibition, Cassandra Padgett, MS, ACE health coach, discussed how telemedicine intervention effectively managed obesity in pediatric patients during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Primary care intervention for childhood obesity is effective and affordable when delivered through telemedicine, according to a recent research poster presented by Cassandra Padgett, MS, ACE health coach, at the American Academy of Pediatrics National Conference & Exhibition.

Childhood obesity has been associated with multiple comorbidities, which often have a greater effect on children from low-income families. Effective management programs are not available for many of these children.

The WELL clinic, run by the Children’s Primary Care Medical Group, is a primary care specialty clinic stationed in San Diego and Riverside counties. During the COVID-19 pandemic, care at the WELL clinic shifted to telemedicine delivery, allowing care to reach a wider number of obese patients than before.

The telemedicine program during the COVID-19 pandemic involved 20-minute sessions based on the Wheel of Health, a health management chart including social and emotional wellness, sleep, screen time, physical activity, and nutrition.

Primary care pediatricians refer patients to WELL, where they meet with a specially trained board-certified pediatrician or nurse practitioner. They are then given counseling for obesity and any comorbidities. Patients receive support in scheduling, follow-up, and care coordination.

During the 2-year period of telemedicine care, 4104 referrals were submitted, with 970 initial visits and 2554 follow-up visits being fulfilled. Of these, 98 patients completed at least 6 visits. Body mass index (BMI) saw a reduction in 43% of patients, 11% of which ended the program with a BMI of under 95%.

Patients reported receiving help from the WELL clinic in 95% of cases, and 100% said they would refer the program to a friend. Insurance covered all visits, and no-show rated were reduced through telemedicine.

These results indicated the telemedicine is clinically and financially feasible for obesity intervention in pediatric patients. This could give children access to a high-quality program no matter what background they come from.


Padgett, C. The W.E.L.L. Clinic A Telemedicine-Based Childhood Obesity Specialty Clinic Rooted In Primary Care. Presented at: American Academy of Pediatrics National Conference & Exhibition. Anaheim, California. October 7 to October 11, 2022.

Related Videos
Allison Scott, DNP, CPNP-PC, IBCLC
Meghan Harrison, DO & Brittany Perry, DO
Steven Selbst, MD
Susan J. Kressly, MD, FAAP
Earls and Flower
Cassidy Foley Davelaar, DO, FAAP, CAQSM
Scott Sicherer, MD, FAAP
Breaking down toddler formulas and the confusion associated with naming, labeling | Image Credit: © University of Kentucky - © University of Kentucky -
Nicole Peña Sahdala, MD, internist, gastroenterologist specialist in bariatric endoscopy, ABIM certified | Image Credit: Provided
© 2024 MJH Life Sciences

All rights reserved.