Reaching Uninsured Overweight and Obese Children Through the FitKids Mobile Lifestyle Modification Program: Lessons Learned

J Community Health. 2019 Apr;44(2):208-214. doi: 10.1007/s10900-018-0575-0.


The US prevalence of childhood obesity remains high with ~ 1 in five children diagnosed with obesity, and rates of obesity are likely higher in uninsured and Medicaid populations than in those with private insurance. To understand the impact of an obesity intervention, an established mobile clinic program conducted a study to determine whether a FitKids Mobile Lifestyle Modification Program could reach overweight and obese uninsured children. Eighty-six children (ages 8-18 years) participated in the FitKids study over two trial periods. The first trial consisted of four total visits, but subsequent visits after the initial visit had poor turnout. Through telephonic interviews, parents described positive aspects of the program: (1) providers' individual attention to their child, (2) increased knowledge about obesity, nutrition, and diet, (3) and parent and child were motivated to be more active. The most common barriers noted for return visits were (1) personal/family factors, (2) scheduling issues, and (3) distance to the clinic. As quality improvement, for the second trial, total number of visits was reduced from 4 to 3 visits and reminder calls were instituted. Percentage of children who returned for the third visit (67.5% for Trial 1 and 62.5% for Trial 2) was not improved despite quality improvement interventions. Mobile clinics provide a unique solution to reach underserved overweight and obese children to help them create a more active and healthy lifestyle, but more research is needed to understand how best to optimize programs.

Keywords: Mobile clinics; Obesity; Overweight; Underserved.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Child
  • Diet / statistics & numerical data
  • Female
  • Health Promotion / methods*
  • Health Services Accessibility / statistics & numerical data*
  • Humans
  • Life Style*
  • Male
  • Medicaid
  • Medically Uninsured / statistics & numerical data*
  • Parents / education
  • Pediatric Obesity / prevention & control*
  • United States