Background

Pediatric obesity remains disproportionately more prevalent in rural communities; however, multidisciplinary, pediatric weight loss programs, which are often located in tertiary-care centers, may not be accessible to rural families.Limited models to specifically address pediatric obesity in rural communities exist. Therefore, innovative solutions are required for expanded treatment of pediatric obesity in rural communities.This article discusses potential solutions for multidisciplinary, tertiary-care pediatric weight loss programs to improve access and treatment of pediatric obesity in rural communities.

Results

A selected review of the literature suggests that strategies to overcome barriers to treatment in rural communities include telephone calls and telemedicine conferencing by obesity specialists from academic centers (obesity medicine specialists, endocrinologists, dietitians and psychotherapists) as well as training local primary care providers in rural communities to screen, diagnose and treat patients with obesity.

Conclusions

Multidisciplinary, tertiary-care pediatric weight loss programs have a profound opportunity to impact the treatment of pediatric obesity in rural communities by training practicing rural primary care providers as well as strengthening their commitment to educate future generations of clinicians on the treatment of pediatric obesity through medical training including physician assistant, nurse practitioner, and pediatric and family medicine resident education and skill building.This article identifies potential mechanisms for expansive treatment of pediatric obesity in rural communities by multidisciplinary, tertiary-care weight loss programs and highlights areas of specific focus needed for future investigation.