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Meg Simione, PhD, an investigator at Mass General for Children and an assistant professor of Pediatrics at Harvard Medical School, and colleagues recently published a paper in JAMA Network Open, titled Evaluating the Implementation of the Connect for Health Pediatric Weight Management Program. 

What was the question you set out to answer with this study?

With this study, we aimed to examine the extent to which our implementation strategies supported the implementation of the Connect for Health pediatric healthy lifestyle program at participating health care organizations.

Childhood obesity remains a major problem in the United States. Programs such as Connect for Health were created to mitigate this issue, but the extent of the implementation of these programs within primary care practices has not been studied.

What Methods or Approach Did You Use?

We used an implementation study at three large healthcare organizations that are demographically and geographically diverse and include substantially high numbers of children living in low-income communities.  

What Did You Find?

The program reached 18,333 children across the three US healthcare organizations, and implementation strategies were found to be effective in promoting program adoption and equitable reach.

The program was highly acceptable by clinicians, well-liked by families, and determined to have factors that would support program sustainability. The practices that adopted that program included pediatric primary care, family medicine, internal medicine pediatrics, and school-based health clinics.

The success of the program implementation was attributed to the organization-specific stakeholder engagement that occurred prior to and during implementation.

What are the Implications?

The findings of the study suggest that understanding how to implement programs in primary care will increase the uptake of evidence-based programs for pediatric healthy lifestyle programs.

Paper cited:

Simione, M., Frost, H. M., Farrar-Muir, H., Luo, M., Granadeño, J., Torres, C., Boudreau, A. A., Moreland, J., Wallace, J., Young, J., Orav, J., Sease, K., Hambidge, S. J., & Taveras, E. M. (2024). Evaluating the Implementation of the Connect for Health Pediatric Weight Management Program. JAMA network open, 7(1), e2352648. https://doi.org/10.1001/jamanetworkopen.2023.52648 

About the Massachusetts General Hospital

Massachusetts General Hospital, founded in 1811, is the original and largest teaching hospital of Harvard Medical School. The Mass General Research Institute conducts the largest hospital-based research program in the nation, with annual research operations of more than $1 billion and comprises more than 9,500 researchers working across more than 30 institutes, centers and departments. In July 2022, Mass General was named #8 in the U.S. News & World Report list of "America’s Best Hospitals." MGH is a founding member of the Mass General Brigham healthcare system.