Families Enrolled in Medicaid Share Experiences in Addressing Childhood Obesity


Sandra G. Hassink, MD, MS, FAAP

Rates of childhood obesity are significantly higher for those covered by Medicaid compared to those receiving coverage through private insurance. For every 100,000 children in Medicaid, 1,115 have obesity compared to 195 for those in private insur­ance. The average cost for children with obesity covered by Medicaid exceed $6,700 compared to $3,700 for private insurance. The CHildhood Obesity Prevention and Treatment Program (CHOPT) for Medicaid project was launched in 2016 with the purpose of understanding initiatives that Medicaid health plans were implementing to address childhood obesity. The project included several components including a national survey, submission of innovative best practices, interviews with families that participated in the innovative initiatives to capture their experience with the program, and the development of a toolkit.  Today, the Institute for Medicaid Innovation is releasing a report that summarizes and highlights the findings from the interviews with families.

Based on the findings from the interviews, families who participated in the childhood obesity initiatives found them helpful and endorsed the provision of knowledge and skills in a culturally appropriate manner. Barriers of transportation, access, childcare, and time were also identified by families.  Frequent collaboration with community organizations was a prominent feature of the initiatives highlighted in this project, including partnerships between the Medicaid health plans and local health departments, community organizations, and schools. 

Click here to read more about the findings from the interviews.