Study: “JOIN for ME” Program Effectively Treats Childhood Obesity | Business Wire

MINNETONKA, Minn.–([1])–Research published by the journal Pediatric Obesity (September

2013) demonstrates that overweight and obese children and teens who

participated in JOIN for MESM were able to continue losing

excess weight and improving their health and quality of life one year

after the program had ended.

Additionally, JOIN for ME helped reduce the percentage of children who

met criteria for “obesity” or “extreme obesity.” The program also

enabled parents of participating children to achieve small,

statistically significant weight reductions.

JOIN for ME is a community-based, pediatric-obesity

lifestyle-intervention program developed by UnitedHealth Group’s

UnitedHealth Centre for Health Reform &. Modernisation. The study was

conducted in 2012 with the YMCA of the USA and the YMCA of Greater

Providence, R.I.

JOIN for ME engages overweight and obese kids ages six to 17, along with

their parents, in a series of evidence-based learning sessions to

achieve healthier weights through balanced food choices, increased

physical activity and tracking.

“We developed JOIN for ME to address the need for a cost-effective,

scalable and successful childhood obesity intervention that can be

delivered to a much larger group of families than traditional,

hospital-based treatment interventions that cost several thousand

dollars per patient,” said Deneen Vojta, M.D., a physician executive at

UnitedHealth Group and one of the study’s principal investigators. “This

study is the first to document long-term outcomes in a community-based

program developed to help kids reduce excess weight. We're pleased

that the results show a statistically significant improvement in weight

Where Does Your Health Care Dollar Go? AHIP Has the Answer | Business Wire

WASHINGTON--(BUSINESS WIRE)--As health care costs take a bigger bite out of consumers’ wallets year over year, Americans deserve more information about where their health care dollars go. That’s why America’s Health Insurance Plans (AHIP) tapped research firm Milliman to take a closer look at the dollars spent on health care premiums.

Milliman and AHIP researchers examined 2014-2016 data gathered from commercial health plans – coverage that people get through their jobs, or buy on their own in the individual market. Here are some highlights from what we found about how those premium dollars are invested:

The greatest percentage – 23.2 cents – goes to pay for prescription drugs. 22.2 cents goes to pay your doctors, while another 20.2 cents pays for all other costs at your doctors’ offices and clinics. 16.1 cents pays for hospital stays. 4.7 cents goes to pay federal, state, and local taxes....

outcomes among participants.”

“JOIN for ME helps parents connect with their kids to help them live a

healthier lifestyle,” said Donna Cabral, whose family participated in

the program. “It provides parents with the tools to help interact with

our kids, it gives us a support group. It gives us rewards at the

end. It taught us to not give up. That we could achieve our goals.”

To view a video about the JOIN for ME program, visit: [2]

Study Results

Obese and overweight status is measured using age- and gender-specific

Body Mass Index (BMI) percentiles, which are calculated using a child’s

weight and height. Being overweight is defined as a BMI at or above the

85th percentile and lower than the 95th percentile.[1]

Obesity is defined as a BMI at or above the 95th

percentile.[2] More than 90 percent of the children who

participated in JOIN for ME were obese. Almost half were at or above

the 99th percentile.

One year following completion of the JOIN for ME program, 70 percent of

the original 155 program participants maintained, on average, a 3

percent reduction in excess weight. In addition, the percentage of youth

participants above the 95th and 99th percentiles

at the end of the program decreased one year later.

The study also revealed that children and parents reported improvements

in their health and quality of life. That the participants who

attended a higher number of face-to-face group sessions experienced

greater weight loss. Parents of participants in the study also

experienced small. Statistically significant, reductions in weight.

“The one-year follow-up study shows that participants were able to

retain their weight reduction following completion of the JOIN for ME

program,” said Elissa Jelalian, associate professor of Psychiatry &.

Human Behaviour and Pediatrics, Brown University. “This is particularly

impressive given that the program was less intensive than those commonly

examined in research studies and delivered through hospital-based

programs. Creating scalable treatment interventions that produce

clinically meaningful, longstanding weight loss reduction is an

important next step in fighting childhood obesity.”

How JOIN for ME Works

JOIN for ME is a 12-month program for children ages six to 17 who are

overweight or obese. Children and a parent attend a series of 16 weekly

group sessions at local YMCAs in Providence. Boys &. Girls Clubs,

schools or other community locations across the country. Participants

and a caregiver are introduced to evidence-based tools and strategies,

encouraging healthier habits that lead to lifelong healthier weight.

Families work in a group setting that lends ongoing support and

encouragement to participants. Sessions are led by a trained facilitator

and cover topics such as reducing less healthy foods and drinks, getting

and staying active, managing screen time, improving sleep habits.

understanding the link between moods and foods. After 16 sessions, kids

and parents are encouraged to attend monthly maintenance sessions for an

additional eight months.

JOIN for ME currently is available at the YMCA of Greater Providence in

Rhode Island. Houston, Beaumont, Edinburg, Sugarland and Spring, Texas.

Kansas City, Topeka and Wichita, Kan.. New Orleans, La.. Pensacola,

Fla., with plans to expand in Georgia, Minnesota, Tennessee and

Wisconsin in 2014. Based on these study results, JOIN for ME is being

scaled nationally with community-based partners through UnitedHealth

Group’s Diabetes Prevention and Control Alliance (DPCA).

Childhood obesity represents a significant financial cost to families,

communities, employers and the health care system. A study conducted for

one large employer indicated that average per capita health insurance

claims costs were as high as $2,907 in 2008 for an obese child and

$10,789 for a child with type 2 diabetes, which is even higher than the

average claims cost for adults with type 2 diabetes ($8,844). [iii]

To read the article in Pediatric Obesity, go to: [iii]

About UnitedHealth Group
UnitedHealth Group (NYSE: UNH) is a

diversified health and well-being company dedicated to helping people

live healthier lives and making health care work better. With

headquarters in Minnetonka, Minn., UnitedHealth Group offers a broad

spectrum of products and services through two business platforms:

UnitedHealthcare, which provides health care coverage and benefits

services. Optum, which provides information and technology-enabled

health services. Through its businesses, UnitedHealth Group serves more

than 85 million people worldwide. For more information, visit

UnitedHealth Group at [1].

i Barlow SE and the Expert Committee. Expert committee

recommendations regarding the prevention, assessment. Treatment of

child and adolescent overweight and obesity: summary report. Pediatrics

2007;120 Supplement December 2007:S164—S192.


iii Sepulveda MJ, Tait F, Zimmerman E, Edington D. Impact of

childhood obesity on employers. Health Affairs 2010. 29:513-521.


UnitedHealth Group
Lynne High, 952-979-5861
[email protected]