To view a video about the JOIN for ME program, visit: http://link.brightcove.com/services/player/bcpid1569425378001?bckey=AQ~~,AAABbO5pVEE~,O_ZOCiBfLQAjVjjWc498SXGAqlt78A8N&bclid=0&bctid=1989125193001Study 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 85 th percentile and lower than the 95 th percentile.  Obesity is defined as a BMI at or above the 95 th percentile.  More than 90 percent of the children who participated in JOIN for ME were obese, and almost half were at or above the 99 th 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 95 th and 99 th 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, and 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, but 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 Behavior 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, and 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, and 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.; and 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: http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.2047-6310.2013.00197.x/pdf About UnitedHealth GroupUnitedHealth 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; and 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 www.unitedhealthgroup.com. i Barlow SE and the Expert Committee. Expert committee recommendations regarding the prevention, assessment, and treatment of child and adolescent overweight and obesity: summary report. Pediatrics 2007;120 Supplement December 2007:S164—S192. ii IBID iii Sepulveda MJ, Tait F, Zimmerman E, Edington D. Impact of childhood obesity on employers. Health Affairs 2010; 29:513-521. Click here to subscribe to Mobile Alerts for UnitedHealth Group.