Can an App Help Reduce Childhood Obesity? Anthem Blue Cross Launches Pilot to Find Out

Health Plan Partners with San Benito Medical Associates to Conduct

THOUSAND OAKS, Calif.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–In an effort to reduce childhood obesity and promote healthy behaviors
for the entire family, Anthem Blue Cross and San Benito Medical
Associates have launched a pilot program with Kurbo Health to provide
expert coaching and a smartphone app to young members and their families.

Pediatric members who exceed the 85th percentile for Body
Mass Index are offered an innovative new program for 90 days of
instruction and nutrition tracking at no additional cost to
participating families. Anthem expects it will take at least a year to
have a large enough sample size to determine whether the intervention is

“Anthem is pleased to participate in this exciting initiative
encouraging families to be healthier. Our goal is to demonstrate how
evidence-based interventions like Kurbo can, through mobile-experiences
and personal coaching, improve nutrition, increase physical activity and
decrease weight,” said Ruth Raskas, who leads Anthem’s Community Health

Childhood obesity remains a significant public health issue with far
reaching health and economic consequences.

  • In addition to the increased likelihood of developing weight related
    health issues such as diabetes, overweight kids miss an average of
    12.2 days more of school each year and experience three times more
    hospitalizations than children at a healthy weight.
  • One out of three kids in the United States is overweight or obese. One
    out of three teens born after the year 2000 will be diagnosed with
    Type II diabetes in their lifetime.

Kurbo’s model is based on, and licensed from, the Stanford Pediatric
Weight Control Program at the Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital.

The program includes:

  • Personal coaching: weekly one-on-one sessions with an expert Kurbo
  • A food “traffic light” system: a food classification system – green,
    yellow, red – that helps kids and families make better food choices
  • The Kurbo mobile app: a tool for tracking food and activity and for
    playing games that reinforce healthy choices.

Doctors from San Benito Medical Associates, which also partners with
Anthem in its Enhanced Personal Health Care Program, will identify
eligible patients and families to participate in the special pilot

“We are really excited to be able to offer Kurbo to families in San
Benito County, which has the highest rate of childhood obesity in
California” said Ray Kusumoto, a physician assistant at Your Medical
Group, one of the San Benito Medical Associates primary care practices.

About San Benito Medical Associates:
SBMA is a group of physicians who have collaborated to form an
integrated group that provides health care services to the residents of
San Benito County. Its mission is to bring affordable, accessible and
high quality health care to all members of the community.

About Anthem Blue Cross: Anthem
Blue Cross is the trade name of Blue Cross of California. Anthem Blue
Cross and Anthem Blue Cross Life and Health Insurance Company are
independent licensees of the Blue Cross Association. ® ANTHEM is a
registered trademark of Anthem Insurance Companies, Inc. The Blue Cross
names and symbols are registered marks of the Blue Cross Association.
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Anthem Blue Cross
Darrel Ng