Funder: Kaiser Permanente Community Benefit

Author: Alexandra Maul, Center for Health Care Strategies, with contributions from Margaret Paul and Carolyn Berry, PhD, NYU School of Medicine

November 2017 | Profile


Although a wide range of efforts to reduce childhood obesity are currently underway, few involve meaningful collaboration between Medicaid and public health. To leverage this untapped opportunity, the Center for Health Care Strategies, with support from Kaiser Permanente Community Benefit, launched the Innovations in Childhood Obesity initiative in 2015 to foster collaboration between Medicaid and public health organizations to develop and test innovative approaches for reducing obesity among low-income children.

This series of profiles details how five states pursued collaborative, cross-sector interventions to reduce the prevalence of childhood obesity in their communities:

Arizona – The Arizona Health Care Cost Containment System, Arizona’s Medicaid program, is partnering with Medicaid managed care organizations and a federally qualified health center to conduct a needs assessment of services to address childhood obesity in Maricopa County.


Maryland – A diverse coalition of partners, led by the Horizon Foundation, is addressing childhood obesity in Baltimore City and Howard County by creating new data systems, transforming Medicaid practices to better address obesity, assessing how to treat severe obesity through specialty centers, and delivering nutritional counseling in the community.


Oklahoma – Oklahoma Health Care Authority, Oklahoma’s Medicaid program, partnered with the Oklahoma State Department of Health and other public health stakeholders to increase utilization of nutritional counseling services among pediatric SoonerCare members in Comanche County.


Oregon – Oregon Medicaid and public health entities within the Oregon Health Authority are partnering to reduce childhood obesity across the state by expanding the use of community health workers for obesity screening  and providing supports to coordinated care organizations to implement evidence-based strategies for obesity prevention and treatment.


Texas – The City of Laredo Health Department is partnering with two Medicaid managed care organizations and two Laredo school districts to implement an evidence-based, school-based health program that addresses childhood obesity and diabetes risk factors.

Related Tools

The teams participating in Innovations in Childhood Obesity created tools to support their projects. Select tools are available to download below:

Arizona Procedure Codes – This document outlines integrated care service codes used by the Arizona team for its needs assessment of members age two to five found to be overweight or severely obese.

Maryland Team Meeting Agenda – This kick-off meeting agenda from June 2016 outlines goals for Maryland’s childhood obesity initiative and lists the eight cross-sector project partners.

Maryland Team Work Plan – This work plan from the team’s June 2016 meeting outlines key details about action steps, responsible parties, and due dates.

Oklahoma Nutritional Counseling Tracker – This tool was developed by the Oklahoma team to track the nutritional counseling services provided by the registered dietitian participating in the initiative.

Oklahoma Nutritional Services Benefit Overview – This fact sheet was developed to inform providers and other relevant stakeholders of the nutritional services covered by Oklahoma’s Medicaid program.